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In fiscal year 2013, the EEOC received 27,687 filings alleging sex-based discrimination. Although this number is the lowest since 2007, it still reflects a large number of employees affected by potentially unlawful actions based on gender. When an employee is fired because of his or her sex, he or she may have been the victim of a wrongful termination. While any form of prohibited conduct can have serious financial and emotional consequences on an employee, this type of action can be particularly devastating. The gender discrimination attorneys at Parks, Chesin & Walbert have the knowledge and experience to assist Atlanta clients with wrongful termination matters.Employers Cannot Engage in Disparate Treatment Based on Gender
Georgia is an “at-will” employment state. This means that an employer there may discharge employees for any reason that is not a violation of an employment contract or of state or federal law. Georgia does not have a state law prohibiting gender discrimination, so it can be difficult to recover for this type of wrongful termination. Even in situations when state law does not provide a cause of action, however, employees may have a remedy under federal law.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) prohibits an employer from discriminating in compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on sex, among other protected characteristics. Terminating an employee based on gender is a type of prohibited conduct under this law. Pursuant to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, an amendment to the Civil Rights Act, discrimination on the basis of sex includes adverse actions taken because of pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. Thus, an employee who is fired as the sole result of gender or pregnancy may be able to pursue a claim under Title VII.
The Civil Rights Act is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An employee must file a charge with this agency of the federal government before bringing a lawsuit for wrongful termination based on Title VII. Charges must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the unlawful conduct. Although an employee may be understandably distressed by being fired, it is very important that he or she act promptly and speak with an attorney as soon as possible to evaluate any legal options that may be available.
Pregnant employees also may have protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If an employer wrongfully discharges an employee who has requested or taken FMLA leave because of pregnancy or childbirth, that employee should seek legal counsel to determine if there may be a claim under Title VII, FMLA, or both.
As with any discrimination case, the specific remedies available are highly dependent on the facts of the specific situation. However, an employee who has suffered wrongful termination based on his or her gender may be entitled to some combination of reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages, and even punitive damages in extreme cases.Consult an Atlanta Attorney for Guidance on Your Wrongful Termination Matter
Parks, Chesin & Walbert handles a variety of employment issues affecting workplaces throughout Atlanta and the surrounding area. The dedicated wrongful termination lawyers at Parks, Chesin & Walbert have a thorough understanding of discrimination laws. If you were fired because of your gender or hoping to gain a clearer knowledge of the law in this area, we have the experience to assist you. Call 877-986-5529 or contact us online to set up an appointment.