Meenoo Chahbazi Article


Unlawful and Discriminatory Harassment

Have you experienced severe or frequent harassment at work based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual harassment), age (40 or older), or disability?

Do your colleagues or supervisors call you names, make derogatory comments or jokes about you, or treat you worse than other employees on a regular basis because of your race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual harassment), age (40 or older), or disability?

Have you been sexually assaulted or propositioned at work?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have been subjected to unlawful harassment in the workplace.

What should you do?

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that in many circumstances, employees need to take advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities provided by the employer by reporting discriminatory harassment internally to the company.Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998); Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998).

  • Look at your employer’s handbook and policies and try to find the anti-harassment or discrimination policy.
  • Submit an internal complaint in writing to the supervisors, Human Resources officers, or individuals listed in your employer’s harassment or discrimination policies as authorized recipients of complaints.
  • If your employer’s policies do not specify who you should submit your complaint to, put your complaint in writing and submit it to the Human Resources department and high-level managers.  If there is no Human Resources department, submit your written complaint to multiple high-level managers.
  • What if the harassment doesn’t stop after I file an internal complaint?

    You can file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Arizona Civil Rights Division (ACRD) of the Attorney General’s Office.  Here is their contact information below. If you need help filling out your charge, you can request to meet with an Investigator for an intake interview. 

    (1)          EEOC

                            3300 North Central Avenue, Suite 690

                            Phoenix, Arizona 85012

                            Telephone: (602) 640-5000

                            TTY: (602) 640-5072

                            Website (national): www.eeoc.gov

     

    (2)              ACRD

                            1275 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona, 85007

                            Telephone: (602) 542-5263

                            TDD: (602) 542-5002

                            Toll Free: (877) 491-5742

                            Toll Free TDD: (877) 624-8090

     

    What if my employer retaliates against me for submitting a complaint regarding discriminatory harassment?

    It is unlawful for employers to retaliate or take adverse action against employees for reporting harassment or discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual harassment), age (40 or older), or disability.  You can file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC or the ACRD at the addresses above and allege retaliation in your Charge in addition to harassment or wrongful conduct based on any of the other categories of discrimination listed.

    What is the timeframe for filing a Charge of Discrimination?

    The time when you must file a Charge of Discrimination varies based on the size of your employer, the type of discrimination, and the actions taken by the employer.

    If the employer has more than 15 employees and you allege discriminated based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and/or disability in Arizona or more than 20 employees and you allege discrimination based on age:

    ·         If you believe the employer discriminated by taking a discrete action against you such as, for example, terminating you, failing to promote you, denying your transfer request, refusing to hire you, or demoting you, then you have 300 days from the date of the discrete action to file a Charge of Discrimination.

    ·         If you believe the employer subjected you to unlawful harassment and a continuous history of related discriminatory activity that resulted in a hostile work environment, at least one act in the continuous history of harassment must fall within the 300-day period to file a Charge of Discrimination

    If the employer has less than 15 employees but more than one employee and you allege sexual harassment, you have 180 days from the alleged harm to file a Charge with the Civil Rights Division at the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

    If the employer has more than 15 employees and less than 20 employees and you allege age discrimination, you must file a Charge of Discrimination with the Civil Rights Division at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office within 180 days of the alleged harm.

    Federal employees and job applicants have a different complaint process, and generally must contact an agency EEO Counselor within 45 days.

    Contributing Attorney:  Meenoo Chahbazi litigates labor and employment law claims.  She is a partner at Robaina & Kresin PLLC.

     


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