Workplace Discrimination and Handling Harassment Claims
Employer discrimination is illegal, whether it is conscious or not. The forms of discrimination include age, race, sex, gender, national origin, ancestry, and disability. A discriminating employer can be anyone – an employer, manager, or a hire. In order to be accused of discrimination, proof of the following must be available:
The law protects people from discrimination when it comes to their age, race, sex, genetic information, and national origin. It is up to each state to decide what kind of discrimination laws apply to its employees, but in general most states have employment discrimination protection for all of these categories. Wikipedia has some excellent information about discrimination laws.
Age discrimination involves getting hired because of your age. This might include hiring someone to fill a job that you could take up yourself or a promotion within your company because you are too old. Age discrimination can be very subtle and it might only involve hiring someone based on their race/age group, their race/age category, or their gender/sex. Genetic information and disability discrimination both involve hiring employees based on their genetic information such as having sickle cell anemia or being born with the birth defect of hemophilia. These problems are relatively easy to prove in court, but they are not acceptable reasons for discriminating.
Another form of discrimination is related to gender identity or sexual preference. If you have been discriminated against because you are too male, or are gay, or if you do not fit into society’s general stereotypes of what a man should be, then you have experienced discrimination. Sexual preference discrimination can be very blatant as one employer discovered that he had a male employee who was able to work as a female at his place of employment. He fired the employee because he thought that the employee might think that he could not work as a woman.
Employment discrimination can also occur in other situations such as hiring, promotion, firing, Equal Opportunity Employment Practices, or any informal rules or policies in place. For example, many employment discrimination lawsuits are filed under Title VII, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in the workplace. This law covers discrimination against employees based on gender, race, age, religion, national origin and other factors. The courts will look at whether there was a genuine employment discrimination (a violation of the anti-discrimination laws), whether undue hardship was experienced, and whether wages were charged and applied fairly.
Each state has its own form of employment discrimination, such as age and disability discrimination. But there are still several areas in which every American citizen is protected by federal and state civil rights laws. Employers are required to have a written policy against discrimination and all employees have the right to complaint if they believe that they have been discriminated against. If the employer can demonstrate that there was no intentional discrimination, they may be able to save their job. If you feel that you have been discriminated against or if you believe your rights have been violated, contact a local employment attorney who specializes in workplace issues.