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Can an Employer Fire an Employee Who is Part of a Hate Group?

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Can an Employer Fire an Employee Who is Part of a Hate Group?

With the recent hate rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, still on everyone’s minds, employers are wondering about how this affects them and their businesses as a whole. Businesses tend to hire workers who have the same values as the company. So what happens when a business is associated with having racist white supremacist as an employee?

Many Americans are trying their best to stomp out hate and promote equality, and may not wish to do business with a company that appears to promote a racist agenda. What can employers do if they find out an employee took place in the hate rally or other controversial event? What are their rights under employment law?

What the Law Says

Illinois—like most other states—is an employment at-will state. Therefore, employers can, for the most part, fire someone for any cause as long as it does not violate the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This means that an employee cannot be fired based on reasons related to age, religion, race, color or gender.

Hate groups do not fall under any of those categories, although members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) have challenged that the KKK should be considered a religion. The courts have rejected that claim.

Even if the employee participates in hate rallies outside of work, participation can still affect workplace morale. For example, many photos of the Charlottesville hate rally circulated the internet. Many people posted them on social media. Should co-workers see these photos, they will likely be circulated around the office. This can cause tension and bad feelings.

The law is not clear-cut, however. There are no specific laws allowing an employer to terminate employment for offensive behavior outside of the workplace. Therefore, it is best for employers to look at each case individually and seek legal help to determine their rights.

Contact an Illinois Employment Law Firm Today

As an employer, it’s important to make sure you fire employees for the right reasons. While you cannot fire employees for reason such as age, gender and religion, you can make firing decisions based on an employee’s off duty activities that are controversial in nature.

If you have an employee engaging in agendas that promote hate and violence, you may be concerned about how this will project onto your business. These situations need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, so don’t make any decisions until you first contact Goldman & Ehrlich for help. Call us at (312) 332-6733 or complete our online contact form.

Age Discrimination: What Are Your Rights?

With many employers looking for fresh young talent, age discrimination is on the rise. Age discrimination occurs when an employee faces unfavorable treatment based on age. Those age 40 and older are protected by law.

Age discrimination laws affect all aspects of employment, including hiring, layoffs, firing, training, pay, benefits and promotions. If you feel your employer is discriminating against you because of your age, read on to learn about your options.

What Constitutes Harassment? 

Age is not a quality about ourselves that we can change. As such, workers should not have to face harassment in the workplace based on their age. Harassment can come from co-workers, supervisors and even clients. The law may not cover isolated incidents that tease someone about their age. However, if the teasing becomes a regular occurrence which makes the employee afraid or reluctant to even come to work, then the victim is likely facing a hostile environment based on age discrimination.

Employers do have the right to reprimand or discipline older workers for behavioral or performance issues. Such actions, by themselves, do not constitute harassment or age discrimination as long as age is not a factor, and younger employees are disciplined for the same performance issues.

Filing a Claim

If you are facing age discrimination, act quickly. You have 180 days to contact the Illinois Department of Human Rights and 300 days to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a charge. It is advisable to retain an employment attorney to file these charges, though it is not required. The employer will be notified of the charge and the EEOC will investigate. If there is sufficient evidence to prove the charge, the employer will be asked to remedy the situation. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the EEOC may take legal action, but it is more likely the EEOC will issue a Right to Sue letter which allows the employee to file suit in court.

Once the EEOC is done investigating your case, you receive a letter stating that you have the right to sue your employer regardless of whether the EEOC believes your claim is supported or not. You will have 90 days to file a lawsuit from that point, so act quickly. Find an employment lawyer who can help you understand your options.

Contact an Illinois Employment Law Firm Today

It’s a proven fact: we all get older. Being turned down for a job or getting fired solely based on one’s age is unfair on many levels. Employers should realize the benefits that come with age, such as more experience and knowledge.

It can be difficult to know what facts and evidence are relevant to prove an age claim, or to know if you have a realistic chance of proving you were fired or not hired based on your age. You’ll need legal representation to uncover the required evidence. Contact Goldman & Ehrlich as soon as possible for help. Call us at (312) 332-6733 or complete our online contact form.

Discrimination Against Transgender Employees

In an ideal world, employees would be hired and remain employed with companies based on their performance. Unfortunately, many people are fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation—including being transgender.

There is no specific federal law banning employers from discriminating against transgender employees. However, many courts interpret transgender discrimination as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

There are, however, 20 states and many cities that have laws protecting transgender employees, including Illinois. We are making progress, but employment discrimination still exists.

Hurdles Transgender Employees Face

President Donald Trump is seeking to implement a ban on transgender people in the military. However, discrimination in the workplace extends much further than that.

Unfairness and discrimination affect 2 million employees in the United States every year. These employees are teased, harassed, denied promotions, forced to stay away from clients and even fired. Many receive negative reactions from employers and co-workers and end up receiving negative performance reviews, even though they had excellent reviews in the past. Transgender people even face discrimination when applying for jobs.

Statistics from the National Center for Transgender Equality show that more than 25 percent of transgender people have lost jobs due to discrimination. Non-white transgenders face even higher rates of discrimination. Discrimination has affected 97 percent of transgender people, with many denied basic requirements such as bathrooms.

How Discrimination Affects Employers

Discrimination affects employers as well. Word gets around, and many consumers refuse to buy products from those who discriminate. Also, those looking for a job will overlook companies that deprive employees of their civil rights.

Employees who have faced or seen discrimination will deter others from doing business with offending companies. Thirteen percent would discourage recommending the employer’s services, and 27 percent would not recommend their employer to those looking for a job.

Contact an Illinois Employment Law Firm Today

With more and more people coming out as transgender or having a sexual orientation that an employer is uncomfortable with, it’s important that employers understand their rights and responsibilities. It is unfair to treat someone differently based on their sexual orientation, including in an employment environment.

If you were treated badly by an employer or fired solely because you are transgender or gay, contact Goldman & Ehrlich as soon as possible for help. Call us at (312) 332-6733 or complete our online contact form.