Employment lawsuits, particularly those that involve discrimination, could take a long time to get resolved. If you have been in any type of legal dispute, you know that any process involving the law and courts could move at a frustratingly slow pace.
Typically, a discrimination lawsuit in a California court could take a year or longer to litigate.
When we're looking at cases with a higher value, those could take longer because the plaintiff is inclined to fight harder and the employer wants to fight back to bring down the case's worth.
However, each case is unique. So, it can be difficult to provide a definitive answer as to exactly how long the case will take. It is also important to remember that a case could settle out of court any time, even after a trial begins. There are also other factors out of your control that could drag a case on for longer such as the ease or speed at which information is available.
What is Discrimination in the Workplace?
Discrimination in the workplace happens when an employee or job applicant is treated unfavorably because of his or her, race, religion, skin color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. These are known as protected characteristics. It is against state and federal laws to discriminate against employees or job applicants – be it hiring, firing, layoffs, promotions or job training -- based on these characteristics.
Here are some types of employment discrimination that could occur in workplaces:
- Excluding potential employees while hiring because of certain characteristics such as sex, race, age, etc.
- Denying certain employees compensation or benefits.
- Stating or suggesting preferred candidates in a job advertisement. For example, it is illegal to call for applications from candidates based on their age.
- Paying equally qualified employees in the same position different salaries.
- Denying some employees use of company facilities.
- Discrimination while promoting or laying off employees.
Common Types of Discrimination
Here are some of the most common types of discrimination we see in the workplace:
Age discrimination: All employees are entitled to fair wages and benefits. Discriminating based on age is illegal under state and federal laws. For example, it is against the law to lay off older workers and replace them with younger workers who won't have to be paid as much.
Religious discrimination: It is also against the law for employers to discriminate based on an employee's religious beliefs or customs. Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations of an employee's religious beliefs such as wearing head scarfs, turbans or prayer times. Employers are prohibited under the law from hiring, promoting or providing training opportunities to employees because of their religion or religious beliefs.
Gender discrimination: It is illegal for employers to pay women less just based on gender. Businesses are also prohibited from lowering salaries of employees of any gender in order to equalize pay between men and women.
Disability discrimination: Employees should not be discriminated against because of their disability, and that includes discriminating against pregnant women. Disabled individuals should also receive reasonable accommodations such as wheelchair ramps to allow them access into their place of work.
Race/color discrimination: This type of discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee unfavorably because he or she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race such as hair texture, skin color or certain physical attributes. Color discrimination involves treating an employee or applicant unfavorably because of skin color or complexion. In some cases, race discrimination can also involve mistreating someone because that person is married to or associated with a person of a certain race or color.
Factors That Could Affect the Timeline
There are a number of factors that could affect the length of time it could take for a discrimination lawsuit to get resolved:
Personalities involved: Typically, when the plaintiff's attorney, defendant's lawyer and all parties involved in a dispute are willing to cooperate and work together, the case tends to resolve sooner than when everyone is trying to make each other's life difficult. Generally speaking, it is in everyone's best interest to get the issue resolved soon because attorney's fees and court costs can add up very quickly for both sides.
Competence of lawyers: The experience, expertise and resourcefulness of the lawyers involved can also affect the length of the process. If your attorney is a skilled negotiator, for example, you may be able to reach a fair settlement far quicker.
Gridlock in the courts: Los Angeles courts are often handling a multitude of cases. This factor, which is not in anyone's control, might automatically delay your day in court.
A case's value: The value or worth of a case could also have an impact on the time it takes to resolve it. For example, if there is a lot of money at state or if the case could have a negative impact on a company's image, there is bound to be a bigger fight and resistance. The more there is at stake, the longer it could take for the discrimination case to be resolved.
Scheduling issues: It could sometimes take a significant amount of time to schedule depositions, medical exams and mediations. Some experts or mediators may have to be contacted several months in advance.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you have been mistreated or discriminated against at your workplace, please remember that you have legal rights. You may be able to file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer and seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
The experienced Los Angeles discrimination attorneys at Kingsley & Kingsley have a long and successful track record of helping victims of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. We will give you an honest and realistic picture of how long it might take for your case to get resolved and work diligently to secure the best possible outcome. Call us at 888-500-8469 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.