EAGAN, Minn., July 21, 2004 – LAWFUEL – See PRESS RELEASES for toda…

EAGAN, Minn., July 21, 2004 – LAWFUEL – See PRESS RELEASES for today’s law announcements
More than one in five Americans say
they have experienced employment discrimination, according to a new poll by
the legal Web site FindLaw(R) ( http://www.findlaw.com ). Twenty-two percent
of those surveyed said they had been unfairly denied a promotion or raise by
an employer because of their gender, race, age, religion or disability.

Gender bias was the most commonly cited type of employment discrimination,
according to the FindLaw survey. Sixteen percent of women said they felt they
suffered discrimination because of their gender, compared with only five
percent of men. The survey interviewed 1,000 adults, with results accurate to
plus or minus three percent.

Employment Discrimination in the News

A U.S. District Court judge recently certified a class-action lawsuit
covering more than 1.6 million current and former female employees of Wal-Mart
stores. The suit charges the retail giant with systematically discriminating
against women in pay and promotions. Last week, Boeing settled a sex-
discrimination lawsuit and agreed to change its compensation and promotion
practices and pay as much as $72.5 million to as many as 29,000 current and
former female workers in its Seattle-area aircraft plants.

According to the FindLaw survey, the most commonly cited types of
employment discrimination were:

Gender 10%
Age 9%
Race 8%
Disability 4%
Religion 3%

A nearly equal percentage of men and women said they’ve been victims of
employment discrimination: 23 percent of women and 22 percent of men. Thirty-
three percent of non-whites said they have experienced employment
discrimination, compared with 18 percent of whites. Non-whites reported
higher levels of discrimination than whites for all causes, whether gender,
age, race, disability or religion. Younger workers age 18 to 34 were also
more likely to say they’ve experienced employment discrimination for all
causes — 27 percent compared with 20 percent of older workers.

“Anyone who feels they have been discriminated against by their employer
should first contact the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or
their state or local human rights commission,” said Rosalie Levinson, the
Phyllis & Richard Duesenberg Professor of Law at Valparaiso University and co-
author of State and Local Government Civil Rights Liabilities, published by
West. “It can be very difficult to prove intentional discrimination. There
must be evidence, such as company documents, records of statements by
supervisors or witnesses that can establish that the reason given by the
employer for denying the promotion or raise is not credible. An employee can
also amass statistics to show that there was a pattern of discrimination, such
as unequal pay or a systematic lack of promotions for certain groups of
employees, such as women or minorities.”

“In addition, there are some strict requirements for filing employment
discrimination actions,” cautioned Prof. Levinson. “Complaints must be filed
within a certain time limit, typically 180 to 300 days. Also, there are
various state and federal requirements on how large a business needs to be
before it is subject to anti-discrimination laws.”

Employees who feel they have been unfairly denied promotions or raises due
to discrimination can learn about relevant labor and employment laws, find
links to government agencies such as the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission and use directories for finding employment law attorneys in their
area at helpful free Web sites such as FindLaw.com . Online resources such as
FindLaw are also helpful for employers who wish to research employment laws
and find legal counsel that can help ensure they are in compliance with laws
that apply to their business.

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