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Workplace Discrimination

Race • Gender • Age • Religion • Mental or Physical Disability • Pregnancy

Both Connecticut and Federal law prohibit workplace discrimination. Discrimination can take many forms, from refusing to promote or hire people because of their age to failing to give training opportunities or promotions to women because they are pregnant or have children. Discrimination is not the mere failure to hire or promote a person. Rather, it's necessary to prove a link between the employment decision and the person's race, age, or other protected status. That "link" can be difficult to establish.

Jodi Zils Gagne has been handling all types of employment discrimination cases for over 10 years. Because of my long and extensive experience representing employers while with one of the largest, most well-respected employment law practices in the country, I gained invaluable expertise, as well as a unique perspective handling disputes. I work with employees who've been the victims of workplace discrimination because of their protected status.

Resorting to the legal process is not the only answer to discrimination disputes. Early on, I analyze a dispute based on the information available at the time, and consider the most effective approaches to helping my clients find a solution that best protects their interests. I provide legal analysis and advice and explore the client's goals.

I have extensive experience representing clients who want to try to resolve disputes, if possible, through alternatives to litigation, such as direct negotiation between the lawyers for each side and employment mediation. If those strategies fail, I have extensive experience litigating all types of employment disputes and representing clients in arbitration and trial. Contact me to learn more about how I can help in cases of discrimination, retaliation, or unlawful firing.

The Anti-Discrimination Laws Include a Duty to Reasonably Accommodate

Employers have a duty to engage in an "interactive process" with employees who are disabled or who have certain religious restrictions that interfere with their ability to do the job. Through the "interactive process," the employer and employee (often working with the employee's doctor) determine whether the employer can provide reasonable accommodations that will allow the employee to continue performing the job. A reasonable accommodation is one that would not cause an employer to suffer an "undue hardship." If an employer refuses to engage in the interactive process and/or fails to make a reasonable and necessary accommodation, it may be unlawful.

Some examples of employer conduct that may be unlawful include:

  • Penalizing an employee for missing meetings or work because of doctor's appointments or illness caused by disability (including pregnancy)
  • Refusing to give an employee a modified work schedule so that s/he can participate in religious observances
  • Failing to provide employees with adaptive equipment (such as an ergonomic keyboard or chair) that would allow an employee to do the job
  • Refusing to grant an employee a leave of absence for medical treatment or a medical condition
  • Refusing to modify an employee's job duties to accommodate work restrictions when they're not an essential part of the job
  • Refusing to promote a pregnant employee
  • Preventing a pregnant employee from traveling, working with the public, or participating in meetings because she is pregnant

Solutions That Meet Your Goals

When an employee consults me early on, I'm often able to help him/her understand the law. This may help avoid a potential lawsuit. If an employee is considering filing a lawsuit, I can often help the employee and his/her employer work together to find solutions that allow the employee to continue working, if the employment relationship is not damaged beyond repair and the accommodation is reasonable.

If that's not possible, I can negotiate settlements and represent clients in mediation, arbitration or trial. I have the experience and resources to take your case to trial. Put simply, I understand discrimination cases inside and out.

If you need experienced counsel with respect to an employment discrimination dispute, contact my office to schedule an appointment.

Contact Jodi

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