EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION

O'Connor Law Firm represents Wisconsin workers in employment discrimination and retaliation cases. I file complaints, represent workers before administrative tribunals and courts, and assist in negotiating settlements. I will fight for your rights every step of the way.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees because of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. An employer violates Title VII when it refuses to hire, terminates, fails to promote, or takes other adverse employment action "because of" that person's
 
  • race,
  • color,
  • sex,
  • religion, or
  • national origin. 
 
Title VII also prohibits employers from engaging in retaliation against employees who complain about discrimination or assist others in doing so. 
Before filing a discrimination lawsuit, Wisconsin employees must file an administrative charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division (ERD). Madison residents can file charges with the City of Madison Civil Rights Department, Equal Employment Opportunities Division (MEOD). The agency will investigate the complaint and make a determination as to whether probable cause exists to believe that the employer engaged in discrimination.
 
Agencies may also assist the parties in settling the dispute through mediation. Complainants before the ERD and MEOD are entitled to a trial-like hearing before an administrative law judge. Employees who file complaints with EEOC receive what is called a right to sue letter. This letter allows the employee to file a complaint in federal court, regardless of whether the initial determination is favorable.

Wisconsin Fair Employment Act

The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act makes prohibits employers (with 1 or more employees) to discriminate against applicants or employees because of:
  • Age (40+)disability
  • Arrest Record
  • Color
  • Conviction Record
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Sex (Gender)
  • Genetic Testing
  • Honesty Testing
  • Marital Status
  • Military Status
  • National Origin, Ancestry, and Ethnicity
  • Pregnancy
  • Race
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Use or Nonuse of Lawful Products; and
  • Declining to attend a meeting or to participate in any communication about religious or political matters.
While discrimination claims involving certain WFEA-protected classes (race, sex, religion, etc.) are "cross-filed" with the EEOC, other claims (arrest and conviction record discrimination, etc.) are unique to Wisconsin and must be processed through ERD.

Madison Equal Opportunities Ordinance 

The City of Madison provides even broader protections to employees who work within the city's limits. Madison General Ordiance 39.03(8) prohibits employment discrimination because of an individual's:
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Color
  • National Origin or Ancestry
  • Citizenship Status
  • Age
  • Handicap/Disability
  • Marital Status
  • Source of Income
  • Arrest Record
  • Conviction Record
  • Less Than Honorable Discharge
  • Physical Appearance
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity
  • Genetic Identity
  • Political Beliefs
  • Familial Status
  • Student Status
  • Domestic Partnership Status
  • Receipt of Assistance
  • Unemployment; and 
  • Status As a Victim of Domestic Abuse, Sexual Assault, or Stalking.
O'Connor Law Firm exclusively represents employees in discrimination and retaliation cases. If you believe that your employer discriminated against you or would like more information, please call (608) 203-6349 for a free consultation.
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