Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Dealing with Discrimination in the Workplace

Do you know how to deal with discrimination in the workplace? If
not, here are helpful questions and answers.
The three questions are:

1. What is the first step if you suspect discrimination against you based
on national origin or race?
2. How to find a lawyer, if EEOC agrees with you?
3. Will life be easier if it is a class action suit?

For answers, go: http://www.80-20initiative.net/discwatch.html .
For your convenience, a text version is appended at the end of this email
so that you can save it for yourself, or forward to a friend.

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***** 80-20's Advice To Those
Who suspect Discrimination In The Workplace *****


1) WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP IF YOU SUSPECT DISCRIMINATION
AGAINST YOU BASED ON NATIONAL ORIGIN OR RACE?

If you suspect that, your first step should be to file a complaint
with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You can
file a complaint by contacting your local EEOC office in person, by
phone, or by mail. Such a list can be found at:
http://www.eeoc.gov/teledir.html . You may call toll free at: 800-669-
4000 for more information if a field office is not close to where you live.
However, charges must be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory
act. You can find more information on the EEOC web site at:
http://www.eeoc.gov/qs-employees.html . If you can afford it, you may
also contact a lawyer to guide you through the EEOC process. See the
next question, if you need help in finding a lawyer.

2) HOW TO FIND A LAWYER, IF EEOC AGREES WITH YOU?

If the EEOC deems that your complaint can be subject for a
lawsuit, then you may want to file a private or class-action lawsuit. In
that case, you will want to find an attorney who can assist you on a
contingency basis, which means he will only collect a fee if he wins a
settlement or a case in court. When you win the case, you may be
awarded both compensatory damage and punitive damage. The
amount of compensatory damage is normally not large. It may
include the salaries you've lost and the lawyer's fees. The amount of
the punitive damage could be very large, if the discrimination is
blatant and malicious. A lawyer working on a contingency basis,
normally takes one third of the award.

A list of Asian American lawyers can be found at the NAPABA
(National Asian Pacific American Bar Association) web site,
www.napaba.org if you join as a member. Or you can use the law
directory on http://directory.findlaw.com/ for free. Pro Bono services
can be found at: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/home.html

Often you may need a lawyer who is familiar with the laws of
your state or locality. You can look up the yellow pages in your
telephone book, under "lawyer." There will be hundreds of names
there. Don't be fazed by that. Look for those lawyers who have ads in
the yellow page that specifically list discrimination as one of their
preferred areas of practice. You'll find out that the number of such
lawyers is quite small. Call some of them to find out if they'll handle
your case on a contingency basis. Tell them that you've already
contacted EEOC, and that it deems that you may have a valid case.
Most lawyers do not take a case on contingency basis unless EEOC has
already done the first layer of screening.

WILL LIFE BE EASIER IF IT IS A CLASS ACTION SUIT?

Most lawyer are more willing to take a case, if you have a
"CLASS ACTION" suit. A class action suit requires a minimum of 15
plaintiffs. If you have many colleagues who have been laid off on
suspected "racial or national-origin grounds," then you have a much
stronger case. You will also be subject to a lot less personal scrutiny
&/or attacks by your company. If there is any possibility of finding
15 persons to form a class action suit, it will definitely be worth your
effort. The plaintiffs in the "class" do not have to be named, so you
do not have to convince your colleagues to join the suit.
 

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