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For employment lawyer Discrimination under Title VII A

For employment lawyerDiscrimination under Title...
For employment lawyerDiscrimination under Title VIIA person in a protected class was fired by a large employer (> 20,000 employees) under the reasons of “violation of code of business conduct”, “conflict of interest”, “work for another employer”. He wanted to bring charge to the former employer under Title VII. It appears he needs to prove the following three criteria given he does not have direct evidence of discrimination. By the way he has sent a signed letter to EEOC asking for investigation. Is this the correct process to file charge to EEOC first before going to court? Please first let me know whether writing a letter is the right way to file charge to EEOC or not. Furthermore, if he can subpoena via court to ask defendant to provide all the relevant information regarding its employee(s) (or former employees) who faced similar violation charges and their disciplinary outcome by the employer, as well as whether these employees were in protected class or not, then an analysis can be done to detect whether his termination is fair or not. For example, if he is the only person who was fired, and all the other people (all not in the protected class) who faced similar violation but not fired, does he have a strong case?The elements of a prima facie discrimination case are:
1. The employee is in a protected class (based on race, gender, and so on).
2. The employee was fired.
3. Employees outside of the protected class were not fired even if they were facing same or similar situations of discipline matter (i.e. also in “violation of code of business conduct”, “conflict of interest” to the same or worse extent).
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Answered in 2 hours by:
7/14/2018
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 15,330
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

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Good afternoon,

The employee can file a complaint by submitting a letter, so long as certain information is included in the letter. It can also be file in person, over the phone or online. The EEOC website has the instructions here.

A subpoena is a court order and therefore there can not be a subpoena issued without a legal action pending. A party to the legal action requests the Court issue the subpoena and if the Court agrees, it will issue the subpoena with the appropriate instructions, i.e., witness to appear, company to produce records, etc. Then if the recipient of the subpoena fails to abide by the Order, the Court can impose appropriate sanctions.

Here's the difficulty I think the employee will have - absent an employment contract or union agreement (which most employees don't have) they are an "at will" employee. That means unless the employer terminated them for an unlawful reason, they can be terminated at any time, with or without cause. The employer needs no reason to fire them. I don't know all of the facts here, but discrimination has to more than a once or twice occurrence. There has to be a pattern of ongoing discrimination or harassment.

It's certainly possible for an employer to single an employee out and harass them due to their protected class but not other employees in the same class (e.g., one woman in the workplace is sexually harassed, exposed to lewd comments and remarks and treated differently than other women in the company). If the employer is saying that he was terminated for "violation of conduct" for example, they will need to prove that they didn't break any rules, but instead, it was due to their protected class status that led to their firing.

Every person's case is different and it truly requires a full case analysis. I suggest that if the employee is serious about bringing a possible suit, they consult with a local employment law attorney to discuss everything that happened so that the lawyer can better evaluate their case.

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Please let me know if I may clarify anything for you or if you need any additional information. I'm happy to help any way I can! If not, please kindly take a moment to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars. Thank you so much for your time.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thanks. Suppose the scenario is as follows. All the employees are "at will". There are totally 10 employees who violated the "code of conduct". Assume they all have the same or comparable extent of violation (i.e. seriousness). Let's further assume John is the only one in the protected class (i.e. minority) among these 10 employees. If none of the other nine employee was fired (i.e. did not receive the maximum discipline punishment) and only John was fired. In this disciplinary treatment, John is punished differently and the only difference can be explained between John and the other nine people is his race. Is this a meaningful case or John still faces difficulty to prove discrimination?

I think at least circumstantially, all things being equal except that John belongs to a protected class, it makes for a good case. Because if the employer is going to say "he violated the code of conduct, so we fired him" -they need to explain why he was the only one fired.

RobertJDFL
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Satisfied Customers: 15,330
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