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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118689
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I cannot find an employment lawyer to take my case, the

Customer Question

I cannot find an employment lawyer to take my case, the referral list does not help. I have a case of age discrimination plus the Blackfeet Tribe did not follow their policies and procedures as a temporary employee, should have been permanent after six months.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Montana on the Blackfeet reservation.
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: I don't know what "at will" means. It is written in the policies and procedures manual of the Blackfeet Tribe.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I would like to get an attorney because my time limit is going to be up in September. I filed a complaint with EEOC in Seattle, WA over a year ago and they just sent me a Dismissal and Notice of Rights and checked the reason as Other (Tribal Entity, Tribal Government of the Blackfeet Nation.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Here is the problem, because the tribe is a sovereign nation, they cannot be sued for age/race/sex/national origin discrimination. The courts have held in Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49 (1978) that unless the anti-discrimination laws specify that they apply to tribal entities, they do not apply. In fact the courts have specifically held these laws such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Sex Discrimination or Race Discrimination do not apply to tribal entities. See: Little v. Devils Lake-Sioux Mfg. Corp., 607 F. Supp. 700 (D.N.D. 1985).
If they have violated their policy, your only recourse is to obtain a tribal lawyer and try to bring suit in Tribal Court for breach of any implied contract they may have had with you.
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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
EEOC stated I had a right to sue buy I need an attorney to take my case.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The EEOC sends a right to sue notice in every response to a complaint, even if they send a rejection of your complaint. So just because they sent you a right to sue letter, does not mean you have a case on the merits, especially where the EEOC told you they have no jurisdiction.
The case law I provided you above says the laws regarding ADEA do not apply to the tribal employers. Your recourse is trying a claim in tribal court.