If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your race, it is perfectly normal to feel offended and confused about how to address this issue. Racial discrimination remains extremely pervasive in the United States, especially in the workplace. According to the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a global research center, one study revealed that job resumes with “traditionally white-sounding” names received more callbacks than those with “traditionally Black” names. A December 2019 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center also found that 38% of Latinos said they had experienced some form of discrimination in the previous 12 months.
Steps To Filing A Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
The process of filing a racial discrimination lawsuit involves several steps. Therefore, it is important to know the correct order for taking action. Outlined below are the seven major steps you should take to file this type of suit.
Collecting All Evidence & Documentation
As with any other type of legal claim, your first course of action should be to collect all evidence that will help bolster your case. It can often be difficult to prove discrimination because people who engage in this type of behavior rarely leave evidence of their words or actions. You should also obtain key information or documents about your employer and the specific individual(s) who discriminated against you. This may include emails and other forms of written communication.
Providing Employer Notice Of Lawsuit Intent
Once you have gathered all the information to support your claim, you should notify your employer that you intend to sue. In general, state and federal courts and administrative bodies both prefer to attempt to resolve discrimination disputes privately before seeking the involvement of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The best way to provide notice is to send your employer a letter (via certified mail) detailing the facts of the incident. You should also set a deadline for your employer to respond to your notice of intent.
Determining Your Eligibility & Completing Necessary Forms
Each state and agency has its own anti-discrmination laws. Therefore, you should investigate whether you are eligible to file a discrimination claim given these rules. You can find an assessment system on the EEOC’s website to determine your eligibility by answering several questions. A local agency can also help you assess whether you are eligible.
Most agencies normally have specific forms that you must complete in order to file a discrimination complaint. These documents, which can often be found either at a local field office or on an agency’s website, typically ask for information such as addresses and contact details for both yourself and the company or individuals who you claim discriminated against you. You will also likely be required to provide a description of the incident(s) that led you to file a discrimination charge. Be sure to keep a copy of these forms for your personal records.
Receiving A Right To Sue Notice
If you were obligated to pursue all administrative solutions before resorting to a lawsuit, you can expect to receive a right-to-sue notice from the agency once the investigation portion of your case is over. You will normally receive this if the agency decided not to respond or if it did not find any violations.
Hiring An Experienced Civil Rights Attorney
It is important to conduct ample research when seeking a civil rights attorney. If you are seeking to sue someone for racial discrimination, you will ideally want to hire a lawyer who has extensive experience representing plaintiffs in these types of cases. It is also a good idea to hire an attorney who is highly knowledgeable about both federal laws and your state’s laws regarding discrimination. Do not simply settle for the lawyer who charges the lowest rate: this person may not necessarily be the best counsel to represent you.
Drafting & Filing Your Complaint
Once you have hired an attorney, you can begin drafting your complaint. This document effectively serves as the initiation of your lawsuit. Your attorney can help you verify that all the information listed in your complaint is accurate. You should then file your complaint with the clerk of the court where you plan to dispute your case.
Starting The Discovery Process
The discovery phase of a lawsuit involves the exchange of evidence and other relevant information between the two parties. This process typically begins after all pleadings have been filed. Interrogatories and depositions are also generally held during discovery. This means you can interview co-workers and other key witnesses.
Speak To The New Mexico Civil Rights Attorneys Today
Contact the experienced civil rights attorneys at Parnall & Adams Law in Albuquerque today for more information on how to file a racial discrimination lawsuit. As career civil litigators and former federal prosecutors, we understand that each case is unique. Therefore, we place a large emphasis on trust and open communication with all of our clients.
We are highly knowledgeable about New Mexico’s laws regarding racial and other types of discrimination and can represent you if you believe you have been the target of such an offense.