What Is Workplace Discrimination?
Workplace discrimination can come in many different forms and can sometimes be very overt. This can make determining what exactly qualifies as discrimination challenging. If you ever have any doubt or question about whether or not your case is applicable under these particular workplace discrimination laws or if you need guidance filing a claim, be sure to reach out to an employment law attorney to review your case.
Discrimination in the workplace happens when a member of a protected class, like minorities and women, are treated differently than their peers. This can include things like repeatedly getting passed for a promotion they are well qualified for, and it can be small things like racial slurs. Race, religion, sex, age, pregnancy, disability, and national origin are specific characteristics that are outlined to be protected under these laws. If you are passed up for a raise, promotion, or another benefit directly because of one of these characteristics, then you are a victim of workplace discrimination.
It’s important to remember that different levels of the government offer different anti-discrimination protection. For example, the local county government might offer protections that the federal government doesn’t. In this case, it may be wiser to file the claim with the county government rather than the federal. If you have experienced workplace discrimination, know that it is within your rights to file a complaint with the organization and with the county, state or federal government. Don’t let discrimination go unchecked, you don’t deserve to be singled out because of who you are.
Workplace Discrimination Laws In 2018
What is protected under workplace discrimination laws may be different at the state and federal levels. Recently, this has been highlighted, as sexual orientation was not protected on the federal level, but it was protected by many states. A recent ruling from the U.S. appeals court now states that sexual orientation does fall under sex-based discrimination. This means you can now file a claim about you be subject to sexual orientation discrimination with the federal government.
Other changes regarding workplace laws are in the works and are expected to be implemented throughout 2018. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is expected to undergo some legislative and/or administrative changes. This act establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. Once these changes go into effect, if you are denied them, it can be considered workplace discrimination.
Know Your EEO Rights
At the beginning of a new job, the employer should provide training to inform employees of what their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) rights are. Some employers provide adequate training and ensure their employees understand their rights, however, some simply provide the information in a handout or pamphlet that is easily lost and forgotten about. This can make it difficult for employees to know what kinds of things are considered discrimination, and how to file a complaint if they face them. You should know your rights, and know that you have the right to ask your employer for the information if you ever feel that you haven’t properly received it.
Not only do you have a right to file a complaint with the organization where the discrimination occurred, you also have the right to file one with your states civil rights commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is the federal agency that is responsible for enforcing workplace discrimination laws, and they receive any claims very seriously.
Discrimination Can Be Subtle
Oftentimes acts of discrimination can be overlooked because they aren’t super obvious or because they have become accepted as part of the workplace culture. One of the types of discrimination that can be overlooked is being discriminated because of your national origin. This can sometimes be overlooked because it includes things like being discriminated against due to your birthplace, because you have an accent, or because you appear to be of a certain ethnic background. This type of discrimination can also be imposed on an individual due to their spouse’s background.
No matter how subtle you think the discrimination is, take the time to research and find out if it is applicable under workplace protection laws. Don’t miss out on opportunities that are denied to you because of who you are. Fight for them, because you deserve them.
Types Of Discrimination
As previously mentioned, discrimination based on sex is still a current part of the law that is being defined and re-defined. This is applicable to you if you’re discriminated against for your sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.
Sexual harassment is also a form of sex-based discrimination and it can come in two different forms. The first is when a person of authority takes advantage of their role and implies that a promotion, raise, or another benefit can be earned through sexual favors. The second kind is a hostile work environment created by ongoing sexual misconducts. These include jokes, slander, or hand gestures that are of a sexual nature that impede your ability to perform or function properly at your workplace.
Being passed up for a promotion, raise, benefit, or job opportunity because of race, religion, sex, disability, pregnancy, and age are all protected under workplace discrimination laws. Even a small comment that alludes to being discriminated due to these characteristics can be applied.
What To Do
You may have just experienced what you believe to be workplace discrimination, or maybe you’ve already reported it to your organization but your complaint has gone nowhere. Either way, you should reach out to an employment law attorney to review your case and help guide you through the process of getting justice. They will help you identify discrimination and help you file a complaint in whatever departments are deemed necessary. Workplace discrimination already seeks to single you out due to a characteristic out of your control, so don’t go through this overwhelming and intimidating process alone. Have an employment law attorney at your side.