Employment discrimination may include biased actions of the employer in preferential hiring, job assignment, promotion, wrongful termination, retaliation, compensation, and various forms of harassment.
Workplace discrimination in any form is illegal. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants or employees on the basis of a variety of factors that indicate a legal bias.
Discrimination: Direct and Indirect
When it comes to the workplace, two forms of discrimination exist. The first form is direct liability discrimination, which occurs when an employer engenders an organizational culture of discrimination, right from the top down. Several people will suffer due to such discrimination, and due to this, it can be easier to prove.
The second form of workplace discrimination is vicarious liability discrimination, which is more challenging to prove as there is usually a lack of hard evidence. This type of discrimination tends to take place when one employee is biased towards another employee.
Direct, indirect, intentional, and unintentional-all are forms of discrimination. In addition, it can even occur as a joke or offhand remark that may seem innocent to the perpetrator. There are various signs that you may be facing discrimination. Some common ones include:
An employer may discipline or criticize an employee’s work too harshly or unfairly if they are discriminating against them. This can be undertaken to develop a paper trail leading to the employee’s termination. The discriminatory employer may mistakenly believe that this will cover their tracks.
In a company that has discriminatory practices, there may be fixed roles at work. For instance, if management only comprises men while women are only in secretarial positions, despite some women being qualified and having applied for a higher position, it could indicate workplace discrimination.
Lack of Diversity
Intentional discrimination could occur if an organization consistently hires individuals of a specific gender, race, sexual orientation, or age, while other people are applying.
The manner in which a supervisor talks to employees can play a big role in discrimination. If an employee faces constant disparaging comments or offensive jokes, the supervisor could be held liable for discriminatory practices.
Adversely Inconsistent Workload
When discriminating against an employee, an employer may eliminate key responsibilities from their job profile or hand them tasks that are impossible to accomplish. This is usually done to have the employee terminated from the company.
Common Forms of Discrimination in the Workplace – Examples
Discrimination can occur in various guises, as discussed above. Some employees may not even realize that they are facing discrimination as they have dealt with such situations their whole lives. Our experienced attorneys can review your case and advise you on whether you should pursue legal action if you are skeptical about the treatment you are receiving in the workplace.
Some common employment discrimination practices include:
New moms may face workplace discrimination before taking maternity leave or after resuming work. A woman, say, has been working for an organization for over ten years. When she is five months pregnant, this employee applies for a senior position that has just opened up for applications.
While she is more experienced and qualified, she is not chosen for the role. Upon questioning her boss, she is told that they were seeking someone who could be dedicated to the specific position.
People with disabilities are also vulnerable to being discriminated against. Employers must offer accommodations for employees and potential employees with disabilities. For instance, if an employee in a wheelchair can accomplish the same tasks as their coworkers but finds out that they are making less money it could be a case of discrimination.
Prospective job applicants whose ethnic names reveal their cultural background may not hear back for the job despite being well-qualified for the position if the employer engages in discriminatory practices.
A workplace policy or practice applies to every employee, irrespective of color or race. If such policies or practices have an adverse effect on the employment of people of a certain race or color and are not necessary to the functioning of the business, they could be deemed discriminatory and illegal.
For instance, an employment policy of “no-beard” may be applicable to all employees regardless of race, but may still be illegal if it is not job-related and has an adverse effect on the employment of African-American males, who are predisposed to a skin condition that leads to severe shaving bumps.
Disparaging or offensive comments about an individual’s age can comprise harassment. The law does not prohibit friendly teasing, isolated incidents, or offhand comments that are not very serious. Harassment is deemed to be unlawful when it occurs so often or is so severe that it leads to an offensive, tense work environment or leads to a negative result in an employment decision, such as the victim being demoted or fired.
Consult a Skilled Employment Attorney for Legal Advice
The experienced employment lawyers at the law office of Kira Fonteneau have handled countless civil rights violation cases. Our attorneys can guide you on how to file a strong employment claim to hold your employer responsible if you have been discriminated against in the workplace. For a free consultation with an employment law attorney, call today at (205) 564-9005.