Princeton Employment Discrimination Attorney
Kay Bayless is a founding member of the West Virginia Employment Lawyers Association who has settled and tried hundreds of employment discrimination claims in West Virginia. At the Bayless Law Firm, we represent current and former employees and job applicants who have been victims of workplace discrimination and have suffered wrongful termination or other adverse employment actions.
Illegal Discrimination is an Exception to the “At Will” Employment Rule
West Virginia is an “at will” employment state, meaning that employees are hired “at will” and can be fired “at will,” whether for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. Just as employees can generally quit at any time without giving a reason, they can also be fired at any time for any reason, “at the will” of the employer. One major exception to this concept of “at will” employment is that a worker cannot be terminated for an illegal reason. State and federal laws protect workers from being discriminated against based on certain characteristics, and these protections make it illegal to terminate someone based on unlawful discrimination.
Title VII and Federal Employment Discrimination Laws
The principal federal law outlawing discrimination in employment is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, usually just referred to as Title VII. This law protects workers against discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion or sex. Employers are prohibited from basing any employment decision on these characteristics. This includes not just hiring and firing but also transfers, job assignments, raises and pay, discipline, promotions, etc.
Some of the other federal laws which prohibit workplace discrimination include:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Equal Pay Act (EPA)
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
Most employment discrimination complaints are initially referred to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC may investigate the complaint and may either decide to take action against the employer directly or allow the employee to sue the employer for reinstatement, back pay, or whatever the appropriate legal damages are. The Bayless Law Firm helps employees with the EEOC complaint process as well as representation in federal court when necessary.
West Virginia Nondiscrimination Laws
State antidiscrimination laws mirror federal laws in many respects but are also broader in some instances. The West Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on:
- National Origin
Complaints of state law violations are handled through the state courts and the West Virginia Human Rights Commission. The Bayless Law Firm can advise you on whether your claim is better suited to a state or federal process and can assist you in either case.
Experienced West Virginia Employment Discrimination Attorney
Having a knowledgeable and experienced employment lawyer on your side is essential to understanding your rights and pursuing them through the appropriate legal process. In Charleston, Princeton and throughout southern West Virginia, contact the Bayless Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your employment discrimination claim.