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No matter how you feel about the recent election and its outcome, recent statistics have shown that the number of acts against minorities and ethnic groups has been rising. It is in situations like these where it is most important to understand your rights and what protections are offered under the law.

What is discrimination?

According to the New York State Department of Labor, discrimination is defined as being treated in a way that negatively impacts you based on your,

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Political Affiliation or Belief
  • Genetics
  • Arrest and Conviction Record
  • Marital Status
  • Genetic Predisposition and Carrier Status
  • Veteran Status
  • Sexual Orientation

If you feel as though you have been discriminated against because of any of these factors, you may have grounds to take legal action.

What do you do if you have been discriminated against?

If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, your next step is to file a complaint. You must file your complaint within 180 days of the actual occurrence. You can file a complaint at the local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office (EEOC) or by mail. Although the EEOC does not accept charges online or over the phone, you can get the process started with either of those options. The complaint must be filed in writing and it must include,

  • Your name and contact information
  • The name and contact information of the person(s) who discriminated against you
  • A description of the act
  • The signature of the complainant or their representative.

If someone has discriminated against you, they cannot take any legal action against you for filing a complaint. You can also have your complaint filed by a representative. This representative can be a lawyer, family member, etc. Basically anyone you choose to represent you. If you do have a representative file your complaint, it must include,

  • The representative’s name
  • A statement saying that they are filing the complaint for you
  • The date and your signature (without your signature, no action can be taken)

Discrimination is not just harmful for others. It is illegal and anyone who does discriminate against you is breaking the law. If you believe you have the grounds to take serious legal action because of discrimination, you should contact a legal professional who specializes in civil rights. They will be able to offer expertise, knowledge, and will be able to help for you as you work to get the justice you deserve.