As employment lawyers, our job is to help our clients achieve a sense of dignity in the workplace. While we do everything in our power to help solve our clients’ workplace disputes, a number of initial requirements must be met in order to file an official discrimination claim as explained in our recent webinar on employment discrimination with attorney John Eccher.
Many workers approach employment lawyers with claims of mistreatment in the workplace. However, Missouri is an at-will state, meaning you can be treated poorly, fired, demoted, or retaliated against without cause. In spite of this, there are several laws that prohibit these behaviors if they are done in a discriminatory manner.
The Missouri Human Rights Act protects workers from being discriminated against at work for their protected class status, including sex, race, national origin, religion, age, and disability. However, not all employers are subject to these laws.
To be defined as an “employer” under the Missouri Human Rights Act, a business has to have six or more employees. Additionally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines an employer as someone with 15 or more employees.
If your job only has four or five employees at the time you begin pursuing a claim, there are ways to get creative, so it’s still a good idea to call a lawyer. If your workplace recently had some turnover with a couple of employees, for example, we can use that to try to establish that there were six or more employees at some point.
When you meet with a lawyer, they will explore all avenues of relief available to you and analyze your entire employment situation. In many cases, mistreated employees reach out to a lawyer thinking their employer is doing something illegal, only for the lawyer to find out that there isn’t a very strong claim there. However, they then find out that the employer is violating other labor regulations, unexpectedly launching an unrelated claim.
Due to the nuance of employment law, it’s best not to let the number of employees hold you back when you’re being wrongfully treated in the workplace. If you feel something wrong is happening, reach out to a good lawyer. You might find that your initial concern doesn’t exactly meet the premises for a claim. But, boy, something else is happening over here, and that is the real claim.