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Thoughts on Election Day, from a Discrimination Attorney

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Although I am not a civil rights attorney in the true sense of the term, as an employment plaintiff’s attorney, I have represented many workers who have found themselves discriminated against in the workplace.  On today, Election Day, as our nation votes to elect our new leader, it is important to reflect on what discrimination means, and how far our country has come.

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, a landmark piece of legislation which was passed by a Democratic president (Lyndon Johnson after JFK’s assassination), reads as follows:

“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer –

to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;”

It goes on, but as we all know, the passage of this was an important moment in our country’s history.  Because of this act and legislation that has followed it, I have been able to successfully pursue financial relief for clients who have been wrongfully terminated because they are black, women who have been sexually harassed in the workplace, and employees who have been treated unfairly because of a disability.  All Americans deserve a right to earn a fair living.  And all Americans deserve to live a life free of discrimination, no matter their skin color, sexual orientation, gender or religion – the issues that have been discussed so frequently in this election.

When you vote today, think about America – do you want a divided America that invokes fear in people who don’t fit a certain profile – fear for safety, for fair treatment? Or do you want to embrace the principles that have made our country what it is – a melting pot, a democracy?

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