How do I File a Discrimination Suit?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 23 March 2020
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If a person feels that he or she has been discriminated against in the workplace in violation of the law, then he or she may file a discrimination suit against the employer. Discrimination in the workplace may be present in the hiring or promotion process or may be the reason for an employee's unjust termination. The appropriate procedures for filing a discrimination suit will vary by jurisdiction, but there are a number of commonalities among most jurisdictions. The plaintiff must first determine that the employer's actions constitute discrimination according to prevailing law in the jurisdiction where the offense took place. The plaintiff must then prepare a complaint and file the complaint in the appropriate court.

Discrimination can be exhibited in many forms and directed at numerous different groups of people. In many jurisdictions, discrimination is not just unpleasant, but also illegal. The workplace is one area where discriminatory practices are forbidden in many parts of the world. The legal definition of discrimination, and more importantly which classes of people are considered protected classes for the purpose of workplace discrimination, may vary from one jurisdiction to the next. Common categories or traits that are frequently protected against discrimination include: sex, race or nationality, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.


Before deciding to file a discrimination suit, a plaintiff should confirm that the basis for the lawsuit is within the definition of discrimination. Some countries provide more protection against discriminatory practices than others. In workplaces in the United States, the Constitution prohibits both federal and state governments from engaging in discriminatory practices. Laws protecting employees against discrimination in the private sector have evolved through federal and state litigation. In the European Union, employment discrimination is defined and prohibited under the 1999 Treaty of Amsterdam.

A discrimination suit is normally filed in federal court in the United States. A plaintiff should consult with, and consider retaining, an experienced employment discrimination attorney before proceeding with a discrimination suit. Federal court procedures are very complex and extremely formal in nature. In addition, when filing a discrimination suit, the defendant is generally a company or large corporation that is sure to have a least one experienced attorney representing them in the lawsuit. For these reasons, an employee who feels that he or she has been the victim of discrimination should retain the services of an experienced discrimination attorney to represent his or her interests in the lawsuit.


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