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Top Questions on Reverse Discrimination

Typically, reverse discrimination seeks to redress social inequalities where the intention is remove discrimination faced by the minority or disadvantaged group by providing privileges earlier denied to them. These groups could be targeted based on race, ethnicity, gender, color, etc. Often referred to as positive discrimination, reverse discrimination is based on the principle that identical treatment may at times preserve inequality instead of eliminating it. Affirmative action programs, as advocated by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, help rectify such discrimination and eradicate conditions that cause or perpetuate inequality. Such actions may require policies that give preferential treatment to the minority or affected class. Below, Legal Experts answer questions on laws related to reverse discrimination.

I had asked for a transfer six months ago because of continuous harassment from my manager, which did not come through. Now, I have been fired on false charges of racial discrimination even though the state of Tennessee found that my company did not have sufficient evidence to prove unacceptable conduct. Unfortunately, the EEOC has turned down my request for a reverse discrimination case against my employer. Do I still have a case??

To begin with, a determination by the unemployment commission that the employer has not presented proof for the purposes of granting unemployment benefits does not determine that you were wrongfully terminated. Since the EEOC has turned down your case, your only possible option might be to file a suit pro se as you may find it difficult to find an attorney who would take up an anti-discrimination case of this nature based on contingency. One of the main reasons for this is that Employment Law firms would be reluctant to spend time and run up high expenses without being sure that their clients are completely invested in the process. Also, attorney fees may prove to be a deterrent for filing such cases.

Depending on whether the allegations of racial discrimination against you are false and can so be proved, you may consider filing a defamation of character suit against the manager who made these statements. You may contact an attorney to assist you with this before the statute of limitations expires.

As a Caucasian licensed CPA, I work with a Latino who is in a senior position. His salary and perks exceed mine, though most of the work is done by me. I feel I have been denied a promotion because the management does not want to hurt his feelings. Am I a victim of reverse discrimination?

In this particular case, you would have to present evidence to strongly prove that race was the main issue in denying you a promotion. An employer may have several lawful reasons to treat both of you differently in terms of salary and perks. However, to file a case for reverse discrimination, you would have to prove that such treatment was entirely because of your race. For this, merely pointing out that you are Caucasian and he is Latino is not enough. However, if you have evidence that your race is the reason for discrimination, you may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If the EEOC finds a cause, post investigation, it could attempt to work out a settlement with your employer. In case the settlement does not work out or the EEOC does not find a cause, you may request a letter giving you the right to sue in court.

In my company, certain younger employees, including myself, have to do more demanding jobs than their older colleagues though the wages, benefits, classification, etc. are the same. Would I have a case for reverse discrimination?

Particularly, in cases of age discrimination, the courts have denied the right to sue for reverse discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). According to an Expert on JustAnswer, the judgments note that “the purpose of the law did not anticipate allowing for "reverse discrimination" claims.”

My son may have been a victim of reverse discrimination at his school. Who should I file a claim with in this case?

Your first steps would be to file a complaint with the authorities in the school including the school principal and teachers. You may also approach your elected representatives or the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights by downloading a complaint form from their official website.

I suffer from Asperger’s syndrome and a female colleague who developed feelings for me retaliated after I told her that I would remain faithful to my wife. She sabotaged my project and spread rumors about me, which affected my reputation. This led to warnings from the management to whom I explained that misperceptions were common for Asperger’s individuals. I also appealed for reasonable accommodation under the ADA, which was denied. Both my present and future career prospects are at stake. Can I sue for reverse sexual discrimination?

Your first steps would be to check if all the administrative options available to you within the company have been exhausted. This would include filing a complaint with HR and perhaps even requesting for a change in location or department. . This is essential in a lawsuit or for a legal claim that is acceptable to the EEOC. Your case is less likely to succeed unless you are able to establish beyond doubt that you were subjected to discrimination, whether sexual or under the ADA.

Based on the facts you have presented, it appears that most of the harassment you underwent is related to you having Asperger’s rather than you being a male, even though the management’s actions were based on complaints related to sexual conduct. In this regard, having an official diagnosis of your Asperger’s would help if the case goes to court. That is not to say that you do not have a case for sexual discrimination. I personally feel that you might have more success with an ADA claim. You may, however, consider both.

Cases of reverse discrimination are often hard to prove. Several courts focus on discrimination itself and ignore the concept of “reverse discrimination,” except where instances of race and gender are concerned. If you feel that you have been subject to reverse discrimination, it is best to get in touch with a Legal Expert to evaluate the merits of your case before proceeding to the court.
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