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South Carolina Employment Discrimination Lawyer

Making a living as an employment discrimination lawyer in South Carolina can be tough. In South Carolina, the unfortunate reality for employees is that you can be terminated from your job for any reason at all, even without cause.  Unless you have an employment contract, the default rule is “at will employment,” which means that your employer can FIRE you at any time, for any reason. However, there are exceptions to at-will employment, and the primary statutory exceptions are for race, sex, age, pregnancy, and disability discrimination, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal statutes providing possible remedies for discrimination and retaliation.

Employment Lawyer Who Knows South Carolina Law

If your termination is because your employer asked you to or required you to violate a law, then you may have a case for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. Examples would include your employer requiring you to stay at work instead of complying with a lawful subpoena or asking you to directly participate in the employer’s unlawful conduct.

If your employer provided you with an Employee Handbook, then you may have a claim for an implied contract based on the promises made in the handbook. However, such a claim depends squarely on the language of the handbook, especially any disclaimers that the employer may have inserted into the handbook.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Discrimination and Retaliation

Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. Title VII also prevents employers from engaging in sexual harassment and creating unlawfully hostile work environments. In addition, Title VII prohibits employers from engaging in retaliation against employees who engage in “protected activity.”.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

The ADEA prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of an employee’s age (over 40). Employers cannot take employment actions, such as hiring, firing, or promoting, based on an employee’s age. The law protects older employees who are are performing their duties satisfactorily but nonetheless face discrimination in favor of younger, often less qualified, people.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 

The ADA prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability. Employers are prohibited from taking employment actions against any qualified individuals on the basis of disability, including decisions to fire an employee over 40 because of their age.

The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. However, in order to be protected by the ADA, an employee must be able to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without a reasonable accommodation. Typically, a fact-intensive consultation with an experienced employment attorney will help determine whether a potential client’s condition falls into this definition of disability.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

The PDA amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to expressly prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. The PDA requires employers to treat pregnant employees the same as employees who are not pregnant but who need similar accommodations due to non-pregnancy-related reasons.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave to qualifying employees who suffer from a “serious health condition.” However, take note that the FMLA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees. Eligible employees must work at a location that employs more than 50 employees in a 50-mile radius and must have been employed for at least twelve months prior to the need for leave. FMLA-protected leave can be taken consecutively or intermittently. 


In addition to protections against employment discrimination, these federal laws prohibit retaliation against employees who make good faith complaints about discrimination. Complaints about unlawful discrimination are considered “protected activity.”Time Limits on Filing Discrimination Lawsuit

You should realize that most discrimination cases have a short statute of limitations — many as short as 300 days from the last act of discrimination. So, waiting to take action is not an option.

Do you need a South Carolina employment discrimination lawyer?

Greenville-based employment attorney Arnold will advise you of your rights, and the process and explain your options. If you have a case, he will fight for you. Call 864-242-4800 to set up an initial consultation.

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