Employment discrimination is very hard to identify. Office employment practices from very formal to very laid back cultures. When a form is filled out for employment, there is usually a disclosure at the bottom of the form that states something to the effect of “we do not discriminate based on color. Creed ,sex or religion”. This brief sentence is put in place by employers by law. It is a guarantee that they will not discriminate against hiring someone based solely on how they look or what their personal belief system is. This sounds reasonable and acceptable however it is not always followed.
There are a lot of cases filed in court accusing discrimination. Filing a case and proving it are two seriously different things. It is easy enough to file a case, a few legal forms are put together and presented to the court. Proving the case takes a lot of work and a little luck unless the case is so blatant that it is obvious to most people. Employers usually have attorneys, some are so large that they have attorneys on staff. The attorneys for the employer will file their own legal forms to answer the complaint, this back and forth with the legal forms could take years, by that time any witnesses to the discrimination may be long gone. Furthering the difficulty of proving discrimination is that employers are savvy at creating paper trails in preparation for their defense.
If a case does make it through the legal system and the employee can prove discrimination there are a few monetary compensations they may receive. Back wages and front pay, back wages are any wages that would have been due the employee, front wages are a little more complex. Front wages is the money that the employee would have made had the discrimination not occurred. Consequential damages may also be awarded, this money that is granted to the employee for being discriminated against. Punitive damages also can be awarded and in essence this is the money that a company has to pay and it is like a fine.
A law suit can be instituted by any citizen. It requires preparing the proper legal forms, filing the forms with the court and serving the forms on the parties involved. There are templates available to create the legal forms that are needed, but it is probably best to hire an attorney that is well versed in employment law. Many attorneys will take these type of cases on contingency basis, which means if the case is won the attorney will take a percentage of any monetary damages that is awarded. If the case is not won typically the plaintiff is not required to pay anything.