We frequently have workers come to us convinced they have a discrimination case against their employer or former employer. There are many situations where it turns out there is not really a case at all. Under existing laws, you only have a discrimination claim if the action involved a “protected category”—one defined specifically under the law.
North Carolina is an at-will employment state, meaning that an employer may generally terminate you at will; likewise, you may leave your position at will. For example, if your employer demotes you or terminates you for spending too much time on the Internet or for wearing the wrong color lip gloss, you probably don’t have a discrimination claim. If, however, the evidence shows that your employer terminates you because of your age, race, national origin or religion (just a few examples of protected categories), you may indeed have a claim of unlawful discrimination. (Learn more about protected categories.)
Here are some real-life examples of unlawful discrimination:
Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace is still common. Employers need to ensure that their managers are aware of discriminatory practices and follow the law when dealing with employees.
Employees who believe they have a legitimate unlawful discrimination claim should speak to an employment law attorney sooner rather than later. There are time deadlines, called statutes of limitations, for pursuing employment claims that if missed can preclude an employee from pursuing his or her claims. In many cases, the attorney can counsel the employee on steps to take immediately to document the claim and protect his or her rights. Questions? Contact Van Kampen Law.