Everyone deserves to show up to the workplace that is equitable and fair for all. Far too often, however, discrimination in forms big and small crop up in the workplace. Discrimination takes many different forms and can affect a wide variety of people.
It’s important for employers to understand and stand up against the different types of discrimination in the workplace. It’s also important for employees to understand the different types and what actions they might be able to take if they feel as if they are being treated unfairly.
Need a basic overview of discrimination at work? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
Many companies, such as Nike, have been under fire over the past few years due to discriminatory practices or cultures. But what is workplace discrimination?
Discrimination could be defined as any sort of prejudicial treatment that impacts the hiring, firing, promotions, benefits, assignments, or day-to-day work life of a hired employee. Treatment in regards to these concepts based on age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and so on is not legal in the United States.
We’ll discuss this in more detail below.
These laws are in place to help protect workers and ensure they are getting fair and equal treatment. The US has a government entity in place, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that exists to help ensure non-discriminatory practices are being followed at companies around the country.
Discrimination does differ from harassment, another issue that has been cropping up in news headlines over the past few years. Harassment can be defined as unwelcome conduct or a ‘crossing of the line’ between employers and employees. It’s important to understand the distinction.
Types of Discrimination in the Workplace
America is made up of all sorts of different people. Your workplace is ideally representative of the many varied people that make up the country. Many people mean many differences, and these differences can all be grounds for forms of discrimination.
What are some forms of discrimination you need to keep an eye out for?
No individual in a workplace should be treated differently or be withheld opportunities based on the religion that they choose to practice. This is as true for Christianity and Islam as it is for Satanism or any form of religion one might choose to adhere to.
This was laid out quite clearly in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which laid out much of the anti-discrimination legal framework that we rely on today.
In addition, employers must make what would legally be considered reasonable accommodations for religious practices. If it presents an undue burden to the employer, they might not have to allow certain things. This is a case by case basis kind of matter.
Depending on your place of work, there might be employees of all sorts of ages. A wide variety of ages in the workplace is quite common. It’s important to note that any sort of discrimination based on age is also against the law.
The law says so: the Age Discrimination Employment Act, also known as ADEA, made it against US law to discriminate against any current or even prospective employees who happen to be over the age of forty.
The age of an individual can not be used against them when it comes to hiring or any sort of decisions made around the workplace.
Is it possible that you are being treated differently by your boss than other employees due to your sex? This would be an example of gender discrimination. All employees should be treated equally no matter what gender they are. This is true during the hiring process as well.
If one could prove that a company was prioritizing its male employees over its female employees, a lawsuit could certainly be brought forward by an experienced employment discrimination lawyer.
Gender discrimination in and of itself can take many forms. Equal pay issues are common, as well as promotion stalling and issues revolving around pregnancy.
One of the main tenants of the Civil Rights Act is that race cannot be a factor in the hiring or non-hiring of any individual. Race can not play a factor in how a person is treated at their place of work.
Some instances of racial discrimination will be obvious: being fired for one’s race, being assigned only to certain projects, and so on. Even a history of inflammatory comments and microaggressions might be enough to make a case that discriminatory intent exists in the workplace that is being discussed.
Another area that people often overlook when it comes to discrimination in the workplace? People with disabilities. Americans with disabilities are protected under the Rehabilitation Act, which means that employees can’t be discriminated against based on physical or mental disabilities.
This includes things such as cancer diagnoses. In addition, the employer in question must do what they can to provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace for these employees.
If you think that you yourself have experienced discrimination in the workplace, reaching out to an attorney can help you establish a case.
Understanding Workplace Discrimination
Far too often, people have to face unfair practices in the workplace. Understanding the many different types of discrimination in the workplace can help you to be better prepared to fight against it. The above information can serve as a helpful guide.
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