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Workplace Discrimination FAQs

1. What Is the Definition of Workplace Discrimination?

Unlawful employment discrimination occurs when an employee is unfavorably treated because of race, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, national origin, religion, or genetic information. For example, if you were terminated due to a “reorganization” while other employees of a different race or gender were retained, despite having less seniority, you may be a victim of unlawful discrimination.

2. What Isn’t Unlawful Workplace Discrimination?

Workplace discrimination that occurs due to personality conflicts, bad management, or poor decision making is unfair but generally legal. You must be able to present evidence that the employer was motivated in part by your protected class by showing that you were replaced by someone outside of your protected class (if terminated) or that you were treated less favorably than a similar-situated person outside the class.

3. What Are Some Examples of Unlawful Workplace Discrimination?

Unlawful workplace discrimination may include any of the following:

  • Frequent comments or “jokes” based on your protected class
  • Being terminated in favor of someone outside the protected class
  • Being denied a promotion over a less qualified individual outside the protected class
  • Being targeted for lay off while employees with less seniority are retained

4. Am I Being Discriminated Against at Work?

You may be suffering from unlawful workplace discrimination if you have been targeted for adverse job actions by your employer because of your race, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, national origin, religion, or genetic information.

5. What Should I Do If I Am Being Discriminated Against at Work?

If you are enduring unlawful discrimination at work, you need to take immediate action by following these steps. Before doing so, it is a good idea to discuss your circumstances with an experienced employment attorney who can provide general guidance on how to stop the harassment while protecting your job and legal rights.

  1. Send a respectful, written complaint. In the complaint, be helpful and professional, offer solutions to the problem, and do not threaten litigation. Sending the complaint via work e-mail is fine but include relevant dates and immediately print off a copy.
  2. Be specific. Narrow down the key facts. Who, what, where, and when. Do not submit an excessively long complaint.
  3. Avoid legal conclusions. Do not say “this is illegal discrimination.” You can say the same thing with more tact: “I feel like I’m being treated differently because of my [race, sex, religion, etc.]….” The latter is not a legal conclusion and it is sufficient without being overly aggressive.
  4. Send your complaint to the right person. Follow the company’s reporting procedures or if the company does not have a reporting policy use your best judgment (usually human resources, or the owner in small companies). If the bad actor is the owner and your boss and there is no one to send a complaint to, call a Nashville employment lawyer immediately to discuss your options.

6. I Was Fired After I Reported Discrimination at Work, What Should I Do?

If you were fired soon after reporting workplace discrimination, contact Nashville-based Discrimination Lawyer Curt Masker at 615-200-0241 or online for your Online Case Review. For many discrimination claims you may have as little as 300 days to file a complaint with the EEOC. We generally recommend that employees not file their own EEOC complaint (read why here).

7. How Much Money Is a Discrimination Lawsuit Worth?

The value of a discrimination lawsuit (settlement or jury verdict) varies significantly from case to case depending on several factors, including the severity of the discrimination, how much money you have lost in wages and benefits, the type and quality of evidence, whether or not the discrimination impacted your physical or mental health, and if the employer has a history of allowing discrimination to thrive in its workplace.

To know how much your legal claims may be worth, contact our Nashville discrimination attorneys for a free online case review.

8. What Laws Relate to Discrimination at Work?

In Tennessee, employees are protected against workplace discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Tennessee Human Rights Act, both of which prohibit discrimination in employment. Only an experienced employment lawyer can explain the legal nuances of all applicable federal and state laws.

9. What Types of Claims Relate to Job Discrimination?

The law recognizes several legal claims related to unlawful discrimination in employment (1) Discrimination; (2) Hostile Work Environment; and (3) Retaliation. You need an employment lawyer in your corner who can fight for you and hold your employer accountable for its unlawful actions.

10. What is the Statute of Limitations for Discrimination Claims in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, you generally have 300 days from the date of the alleged discrimination to pursue federal discrimination claims. Depending on how much time has passed since the discrimination occurred, you may have very little time remaining before the deadline. If you miss this deadline, you will be barred from pursuing your claims in court.

11. How Do I Sue for Discrimination at Work?

The first step is to speak with an experienced employment litigator who files discrimination claims in court and with the EEOC.

If you have suffered from discrimination at work, contact our team of experienced and highly skilled Nashville discrimination lawyers at the number above or online. Our firm exclusively represents employees in disputes with their employers.

Client Reviews
Curt worked diligently and maintained excellent communication with my case. He made sure to keep us updated about any and everything. I highly recommend Rickard Masker, PLC. Would give more stars if possible. Jeffrey
Curt really came through for me when a previous employer had reported my job title and hire dates incorrectly, he got it corrected within 12 hours of speaking to him about it! I would recommend him for any of your legal needs as he is quite efficient! Renee
Curt was very responsive from the beginning. He made it a very easy process, and he provided excellent guidance in the review of my severance agreement. Due, in part, to Curt's thoughtful suggestions in regards to changing some key language in the agreement that would protect both me and my former employer, they agreed to the changes. To protect yourself during job transition, a review of a severance agreement is a smart thing to do, and Curt will do an excellent job on your behalf. Thomas
Curt handled a case for me and did an unbelievable job in getting a resolution and a great settlement. I would highly recommend him to anyone. Teena