Employment Discrimination – St. Louis Employment Discrimination Appeals Attorney

What is Employment Discrimination?

Employment discrimination deals with any type of unfair treatment of an individual or class of people in the workplace due to a characteristic or trait. It is against both Missouri and federal law to discriminate in the workplace. The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits any business that employs six or more people from discriminating against employees due to race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, age, and/or disability. There are several federal laws that prohibit discrimination, including:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Equal Pay Act (EPA)
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

To bring a claim under federal law, your employer must be covered by federal statute. For an employer to be covered by federal statute, the employer must engage at least 15 employees who have logged at least 20 weeks of work in the past year for a claim including allegations of discrimination involving race, gender, religion, color, genetic information, or disability. If you have received an unfavorable verdict in an employment discrimination case, then it is important to speak to an experienced employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible.

What Kinds of Employment Discrimination Issues Can Be Appealed?

Before you file your employment discrimination appeal, it is essential to understand what kinds of issues can be appealed. A judge’s decisions regarding any pretrial motions or trial objections that your trial attorney made are appealable and can be reversed by an appellate court. Whenever an attorney makes a motion or objection at the trial level, he or she is making a legal record that can be reviewed by a higher court. The types of issues that can be appealed in an employment discrimination case include:

  • Jury misconduct
  • Attorney misconduct
  • Judicial misconduct
  • Newly discovered evidence
  • A mistake in the application of the law

Your trial attorney must file appropriate motions on legal issues and object to evidence or testimony that doesn’t comport with the rules of evidence at the trial level to preserve issues for appeal. If your trial attorney didn’t file appropriate motions or failed to make appropriate legal objections, then you will likely have lost your chance to appeal these issues. If a trial attorney’s performance was below a minimum professional standard, then your appeal may include a claim of legal malpractice against your trial attorney. It is important to understand that you won’t successfully appeal an employment discrimination case just because you’re unhappy with the outcome. You need to point out specific mistakes in the application of law or legal standards, and further show how those mistakes affected the outcome of the trial. Understanding your potential appellate issues is your first step towards filing a winning appeal.

What Appellate Court Will Hear My Case?

The location and type of case that is being appealed will determine which appellate court has jurisdiction to decide on the case at the state or federal level. In Missouri state court, there are three appellate courts, the Eastern District, Western District, and Southern District. The courthouse for the Eastern District is in St. Louis, Western District is in Kansas City, and Southern District is in Springfield. If your Missouri employment discrimination case originated near one of these cities, then your appeal is likely to be heard in the nearest appellate court. Federal employment discrimination cases that are filed in the Eastern or Western District Court in Missouri are heard by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Importance of Having Experienced Appellate Counsel

Most trial attorneys simply don’t handle appeals. This is because appeals are much different in form and function than trials. Appeals operate through specific rules and guidelines and lean on an attorney’s experience and legal research and writing skills. These skills are sharpened with practice researching and writing appellate briefs. Essentially, an appellate brief is a full summary of the case and what went wrong at the trial level. A complete appellate brief includes a table of contents, a list of citations for relevant cases and authorities, a summary of facts, and a legal analysis of the facts and the law.

It is common to have several reasons to want to appeal a case. To ensure the best chance at success, you will need an experienced appellate attorney to help you choose the strongest issues for appeal. After you choose your appellate issues, you must back up your argument with an explanation of the law that applies, and how the trial court got it wrong. You likely only have one chance to appeal your case, so it is critical to do it correctly. Make sure you have a highly experienced appellate counsel on your side if you want to appeal your case.

John Reeves; Reeves Law

As an appellate specialist, John Reeves provides consulting services to trial attorneys about preserving matters for appeal and drafting dispositive motions. His practice also includes serving as defense counsel in civil matters, including constitutional matters (§1983 litigation), commercial law, personal injury matters, municipal law, employment discrimination, and insurance coverage disputes.

After serving as an Assistant Missouri Attorney General for over six years, John entered private practice in 2015, opening his own firm in 2019. He has personally authored over 250 appellate briefs and has conducted oral arguments in all three districts of the Missouri Court of Appeals, the Missouri Supreme Court, and the federal Eighth Circuit. In addition, Mr. Reeves has personally authored both certiorari petitions and applications for extraordinary relief before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Reeves has also written numerous dispositive motions in both federal and state court.

In October 2019, Mr. Reeves co-founded the Missouri Bar’s Appellate Practice Committee, the first statewide organization in Missouri devoted to furthering professional development for attorneys in appellate matters. He presently serves as the committee’s co-chair.

Contact Reeves Law today to schedule an appointment to discuss your appeal or to have him sit in on your current trial and case.

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