Discrimination in the workplace is too common in Colorado. It can involve the federal government if you are a civilian employee at a military facility.

You can feel helpless when your employer discriminates against you. It may seem that the federal bureaucracy has the advantage. You can even the odds.

Making a federal case

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles cases or employee discrimination. Some discrimination areas include:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation,
  • National origin
  • Age (40 or older)
  • Disability
  • Genetic information

The first step is contacting an EEOC counselor where you work or applied for employment. In general, the time limit is 45 days. The agency evaluates your complaint and decides whether to investigate.

EEOC must complete its investigation within 180 days. You can request a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge or ask for the agency to issue a decision.

Making it right

Remedies depend on the circumstances of your case. The goal is to restore your situation as if the discrimination did not happen.

Discrimination can occur in hiring and promotion, and the remedy can result in receiving the job and/or back pay and benefits. You also may be able to recover court costs.

Compensatory and damages can include repayment for out-of-pocket expenses. These costs can cover job searches and medical expenses. They also cover mental anguish, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages occur when an employer is guilty of malicious or reckless discrimination.

Liquidated damages apply in some cases of age discrimination and sex-based wage discrimination. The award equals back pay.

Make your own decisions

You can appeal if you lose your EEOC discrimination complaint. Base your complaints on alleged mistakes about facts of the case or application of the law.

If you lose your appeal, know that you can still seek justice. You can prove violations of your rights. Hold your employer responsible. Do not let them treat someone else the same way.