More people are claiming they lost their jobs because of discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received nearly 100,00 discrimination complaints – a record high – last year. The agency’s Norfolk office reported 1,041 complaints, a 10.7 percent increase from 2009. The EEOC recently reported the data, which cover the federal fiscal year from Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30. Lawyers for both employers and workers say the primary impetus is the gimpy economy.
For many years, Lisa Bertini, 46, practiced employment law as a dutiful hired gun for corporations. Tall and slender, her dark, determined eyes offset by a head full of curly blond hair, she’d stride into court on behalf of Xerox or Food Lion. But three years ago, she started her own law firm in Norfolk, now called Bertini Law, and carved a more treacherous path. About 80 percent of the time, Bertini is a plaintiff’s lawyer. In Virginia, that means the law isn’t necessarily on her side.
Let’s talk about those big Supreme Court rulings that came out a few weeks ago. No, not those rulings. Our subject today isn’t gay marriage or voting rights. It’s workplace discrimination and retaliation.