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Supreme Court removes barrier for workplace discrimination cases

Workers experiencing discrimination in Florida need not file complaints first with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prior to suing employers in federal court. In a rare unanimous decision from the Supreme Court of the United States, the justices ruled that the requirement in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that compels people to complain first to the EEOC, or its equivalent state agency, did not automatically force federal courts to dismiss workplace discrimination cases that had not first sought relief through the EEOC.

Employers, however, retain the power to request that a court dismiss a case if they alert a court in a timely manner that the plaintiff did not inform the EEOC. An employer that waits too long to raise the issue could miss the chance to have a case dismissed for failure to take the problem to the EEOC.

Title VII is a federal law designed to protect employees from discrimination due to their national origin, religion, sex, color or race. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the Court's opinion, she explained that the requirement within Title VII was not jurisdictional over the court system.

Although the high court delivered a somewhat positive decision for people suffering from discrimination at work, a person affected by mistreatment on the job still needs to navigate complex employment laws to make a complaint. Boca Raton, Florida, workplace racial discrimination legal assistance may support a person's efforts to document unfair treatment and workplace practices to build a case. An attorney might manage complaints to a state-level agency or prepare a lawsuit to hold an employer responsible for discriminatory pay, missed promotion opportunities or a hostile work environment.

Source: National Law Review, "High Court Allows Employees To Charge Ahead", June 19, 2019

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