Workplace discrimination lawsuits are on the rise in Oakland, California, and across the United States. Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show an uptick in disability, racial, gender, age, and retaliation complaints over the past decade. The trend has people asking: what’s behind the increase?
People are becoming more familiar with workplace discrimination laws
Even though lawmakers passed the first anti-discrimination employment laws over 50 years ago, it’s taken decades for changes to resonate practically, tangibly, and legally — and we still have a ways to go. As such, members of previous generations may not have grasped the breadth and scope of the statutes. But as more workers become familiar with their rights, the number of cases rises.
Employees are becoming more courageous
Racism, sexism, ableism, and ageism aren’t new, but they’ve long been taboo subjects in the public sphere. Marginalized groups that agitate for change are almost always met with resistance or disinterest at first. As a result, discrimination victims were groomed to accept abuse. In essence, they went along to get along.
But the times, as they say, are a-changing. Not only are people now more aware of their rights, but employees are developing the courage to talk about workplace discrimination and legally challenge it.
Employer fear often leads to retaliation discrimination claims
Retaliatory workplace discrimination cases are filed by employees who are punished for reporting unlawful or inappropriate behavior. For example: let’s say a woman reports her male co-worker for repeatedly telling sexist “jokes” in the office. If the woman is suddenly transferred to a different department or stripped of responsibilities after whistle-blowing, she may have grounds for a retaliation discrimination claim.
In these types of cases, scared employers act irrationally when faced with potential discrimination problems. Instead of directly dealing with the issue, they try to cover-up a toxic workplace culture by shuffling around workers, which leads to bigger problems — and ultimately retaliation discrimination lawsuits.
Connect with a workplace discrimination attorney
If you’re dealing with bigotry or prejudice at work and want to fight back, an employment law attorney may be able to help. The only way to ensure equal rights across the board is to make use of the law. It may feel scary, but standing up to workplace discrimination is essential. And the fight you wage today could spare someone else tomorrow.