Unlawful employment discrimination is still an ongoing occurrence in the state of New Mexico. According to the New Mexico Humans Rights Act, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on race, sexual orientation, color, national origin, region, and other personal traits. All these aspects are legally protected categories. The New Mexico Human Rights Act is in place to protect workers against unlawful discrimination in the workplace.
If an employer treats you or a loved one unfairly because of your race, then that employer can be held liable for discriminatory actions. An experienced Albuquerque workplace racial harassment lawyer at FBD Law will help to protect your workplace rights and effectively ensure that the hostile work environment is effectively dealt with. We will pursue a discrimination or harassment claim on your behalf to ensure that your employer is held accountable according to the relevant state and federal laws.
Representation in an employment discrimination case by a highly qualified employment law attorney will ensure the best possible outcome for your claim and lawsuit. Get in touch with us today at (505) 842-9960 to schedule a free consultation session where we will assess your case and guide you on the best way forward.
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Employee Discrimination Statistics
Earlier this year, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released the enforcement and litigation statistics for the fiscal year 2019. In that year, there were only 72,675 workplace discrimination charges presented to the commission. While the total number of cases was at an all-time low – a drop of 3,743 cases from 2018 – retaliation based discrimination continues to be the most frequently reported form of discrimination, accounting for more than half of all the claims.
For a better perspective, below is a breakdown of the claims filed in the year 2019:
- Retaliation accounted for 39,110 claims (53.8%)
- Disability accounted for 24,238 claims (33.4%)
- Race accounted for 23,976 claims (33.0%)
- Sex accounted for 23,532 claims (32.4%)
- Age accounted for 15,573 claims (21.4%)
- National Origin accounted for 7,009 claims (9.6%)
- Religion accounted for 2,725 claims (3.7%)
- Color accounted for 3,415 claims (4.7%)
- Equal Pay Act accounted for 1,117 claims (1.5%)
- Genetic Information accounted for 209 claims (0.3%)
From the above data, it is clear to see that racial discrimination in the workplace is still a major problem. It experienced an increase of .8% from the previous year.
Signs That You May Be Being Discriminated Against at Work
Sometimes, it may not be obvious that you are being discriminated against. However, just because it isn’t obvious doesn’t mean that you are being treated fairly. The following are some of the common signs that you are being discriminated against:
Suspicious Interview Questions
The interview is one of the first places where you can identify an organization’s discrimination issues. Be on the lookout for interviewers asking stereotypical questions or some other inappropriate questions and comments in the course of the interview.
Individuals in managerial positions may use certain tones or take up certain attitudes when talking to you. This can easily create a toxic work environment as employees who have certain characteristics or belong to certain categories will often feel belittled. As such, it is important to ensure that such people in higher positions are held accountable.
Unjust Disciplinary Action
While disciplinary action is a great way of preventing and punishing inappropriate behavior, it needs to be handed out in a fair and just manner. When only certain individuals are getting punished for some actions while others don’t get as much as verbal warning, then this can also create a hostile environment. Additionally, if some employees are getting severe disciplinary action for minor misdoings, then this can be a sign of workplace discrimination.
If you believe that you are a hardworking employee and have the necessary skills and experience for a particular role but are constantly getting overlooked, then this may be a sign of discrimination. You may also find that you are denied the job, and another person with far lesser qualifications is awarded. This can be a great sign of discrimination. Employers should give equal promotion opportunities to all their employees.
Even though many employers tend to discourage employees from discussing their salaries with other employees, under federal law, you are allowed to do so. By talking about your salaries with your employees, you will be able to determine whether you are being subjected to pay discrimination. A good sign is when a coworker who is in the same role as you and has the same amount of experience gets paid more than you for the same amount of work. This can be particularly evident if your colleague is a different race, gender, etc.
New Mexico Work Discrimination Laws – New Mexico Human Rights Act
The New Mexico Human Rights Act is a state law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their age, race, color, gender, ancestry, nation of origin, physical and mental disability, sexual orientation, spousal affiliation, gender ancestry, or medical condition.
Previously, the protections for sexual orientation in this act only applied to companies with 15 or more employees; however, as of June 4, 2019, any employer with four or more employees will be subject to this law. Additionally, if an employer has more than 50 employees, then it is illegal to discriminate against employees based on their spousal affiliation.
Under this act, the employer is prohibited from:
- Discriminating against an employee in matters regarding compensation, terms, or employment privileges based on a protected characteristic
- Denying admission to a person in a training or apprenticeship program due to a protected characteristic
- Aiding or promoting any illegal, discriminatory practice
- Threatening or discriminating against any person that has raised a complaint against illegal, discriminatory practices
- Intentionally preventing a person from complying with the Act
- Printing and circulating publications or advertisement that directly or indirectly expresses limitation or discrimination based on a protected characteristic, unless the limitation is based on a bona fide occupational qualification.
Can My Employer Punish Me For Reporting Discrimination?
No. It is illegal for the employer to punish an employee for reporting discrimination. The EEOC and the New Mexico Human Rights Division enforce laws that help to protect you from any unfair treatment as a result of reporting discrimination. It is important to note that this still applies if, after investigations, it is found that the conduct wasn’t illegal. Hence, you are protected from harassment and retaliation regardless of the validity of the initial allegations, as long as the allegations were brought in good faith. You are also protected if you act as a witness or help others report discrimination.
What To Do If You Are a Victim of Workplace Racial Harassment?
Being harassed at work because of your race can leave you feeling powerless, but following these steps can help you build a case so that your claim is more likely to be successful.
Keep Careful Notes on What Happened
You need to keep a record of your experiences. You need to write down any incidents or information that is relevant to your complaint. However, you need to ensure that you save this evidence safely and away from the individual responsible for the harassment. It is smart to document your experiences in handwritten notes or a computer that you own. Avoid using company equipment as your employer can easily find this information.
Report the Conduct
While reporting the conduct may seem intimidating, it is in your best interest to do so. Making the written report helps to keep the employer on notice and gives them the opportunity to address the issue. They should carry out an investigation into the matter and take steps to resolve it, thus creating a less toxic and hostile environment.
You shouldn’t avoid reporting harassment out of fear of retaliation. Suffering in silence only does more harm than good. If the employer isn’t the perpetrator of the act, maybe it’s your supervisor, and you fail to report the conduct, then the employer will argue that they weren’t aware of what was going on. When you make the report, and the issue isn’t addressed, then at least you will have proof that the employer was aware.
Contact an Attorney
In the event that you feel you are being harassed or discriminated against at work for being part of a protected category, then you need to consult a lawyer. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to file a lawsuit against your employer, you will get helpful advice and better understand what the law describes to be harassment and discrimination and how to handle the situation. If the situation doesn’t improve, then your attorney will guide you on your available legal options.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim for Work Discrimination in New Mexico?
You only have a limited time within which you can file a workplace discrimination claim. Under state law, you need to file the claim with the HRD within 300 days from the date you believe the incident happened. Under federal law, you must also file your claim with the EEOC within 300 days from the date of the incident.
Get In Touch With an Albuquerque Workplace Racial Harassment Lawyer Today
We all need our jobs to survive; most of us are passionate about what we do. However, when you are working in a toxic and hostile environment, it can have a serious impact on your productivity and mental wellbeing. If you are being discriminated against due to your race, then you need to contact an experienced workplace harassment attorney at FBD Law. We have extensive experience dealing with employment law cases, and we will fight hard to protect your rights and ensure that you get the compensation you need. Get in touch with us at (505) 842-9960 to get started with your workplace discrimination case.