Civil Rights Discrimination and Workplace Misconduct

Workers have a right to fair and safe treatment in the workplace. Workplace discrimination, workplace misbehavior, unsafe working conditions, harassment, and retaliation for reporting unsafe conditions are all common problems that arise at work and can be addressed through the legal system.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits workplace discrimination based on a person’s age, disability, race, gender (including pregnancy), or religion. Discrimination occurs when a company or supervisor treats a person unfavorably because he or she possesses certain characteristics or belongs to an identifiable group. The EEOC also prohibits harassment, which is a form of discrimination that occurs when a person engages in unwelcome conduct based on another’s religion, race, gender, or disability. Harassment becomes actionable when enduring harassing conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or when such conduct is so pervasive as to create an abusive or hostile work environment. Employees who have experienced discrimination or harassment at work should discuss with a lawyer whether they have a claim against the person or business engaging in that conduct.

In addition to abstaining from discriminatory conduct, employers have a legal obligation to provide employees with a workplace free of known dangers. Workers have a right to bring unsafe conditions or practices to the attention of their employers without fear of being fired or demoted for doing so. And while Worker’s Compensation is often stated to be an exclusive source of money to compensate workers for on-the-job injuries, in certain cases there are other options to explore, which our attorneys are familiar with and willing to investigate.

Recent successes:

Montana Discrimination Case.  
Meyer, Shaffer & Stepans represented a Montana woman who was discriminated against by her employer and housing provider.  The claims were pursued under the Montana Human Rights Act which prohibits workplace and housing discrimination.  The defendant did not offer a suitable settlement amount and the case was tried to an administrative law judge.  After a one-day trial the judge determined that our client had been discriminated against and awarded our client all damages that we requested and our attorney fees. 

North Dakota and Montana Discrimination Case. 
Meyer, Shaffer & Stepans represented two African American men and a co-worker who were subjected to racial harassment while working in the North Dakota and Montana oil field.  Our Firm filed state and federal civil rights claims for race-based harassment occurring at oil rigs across the Bakken oil field.  After MSS completed trial preparation the case was resolved to the satisfaction of our clients.