One of the most important elements of a lawsuit that you should be aware of, is the application of a statute of limitations to your claim. Statutes of limitations are, as the name suggests, the limitations applied to causes of action, i.e., the right to sue on some grievance. They vary in length, and once they "run," or have expired, they work as an absolute ban on filing a lawsuit.
Everyone is in favor "fair and open" hiring procedures. It is especially important for entities like the federal government, for one, because violating the Civil Service laws is illegal, and secondly, we want federal jobs to be open for all qualified citizens and the federal government should embody the spirit of all of the employment laws that have been designed to promote fairness in the workplace.
In some employment cases involving discrimination, it is often difficult to discriminate between genuine reasons for an action and pretext. In the context of federal employment, managers or supervisors with the agency may unfairly discriminate against an employee, firing them, denying them opportunities for promotion or subjecting them to adverse job actions. However, they may claim they have a legitimate reason for their actions, creating the pretext.
While the federal government is responsible for the enforcement of all of the federal employment laws and regulations in the U.S., it is also a very large bureaucracy. There are tens of thousands of employees and managers working in diverse jobs, including medical researchers, weather forecasters, park rangers, FBI agents and federal judges.
Federal agencies have paid more money in discrimination case settlements in 2012 than any previous year, and exceeded the total from 2005, which had been the previous top year for payouts.
If you work for a federal agency and have suffered some type of employment discrimination, from sexual harassment to a hostile working environment or unlawful retaliation, you may decide to sue your agency. On the other hand, your agency may be investigating you, and it is that investigation that is driving the hostile environment or retaliation.
Claims of discrimination within government agencies are always troubling. The federal government has often had some of the most progressive personnel policies and it is expected that the federal government, which has the responsibility to enforce many of the anti-discrimination law, should always comply with those laws.
When it comes to legal matters, there is a hierarchy of authority. The U.S. Constitution is the source of all other law in this country, which then moves down through acts of Congress that create statutory laws. Some of those laws create administrative agencies and grant those agencies the authority to promulgate regulations. Those regulations may be subject to interpretation by administrative personnel and administrative law judges.
The difference between a workplace discrimination claims and having to deal with a difficult boss or coworkers can sometimes be less than clear. Are activities of supervisors discriminatory or are they, as the Supreme Court has described it, the "ordinary tribulations of the workplace."
Employment discrimination cases are inherently complex. Except in cases of blatant and stupid discrimination, where someone makes clearly discriminatory remarks or makes derogatory statements in an email or written documentation, much employment discrimination is subtle. It is often apparent only when looking for something that is not, such as why there is a racial or gender disparity among a workforce.