Life isn’t always fair, but people do have some control over the fairness of certain aspects of life. For example, those who own and run businesses have the power to make their work environments places where employees receive respect, honest wages and fair treatment no matter what groups or classes they belong to. To fail to do so is discrimination.
Discrimination on the job can happen long before you even obtain the position. In some cases, even the way employers recruit candidates and conduct employment interviews screens out certain classes of people. This is more than unfair; it is against the law, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exists to protect you and others from unfavorable treatment in the workplace.
Is this happening to you?
Workers face discrimination on the job because of disabilities, sex and gender issues, and age more than most other kinds of discrimination. Those with health issues or disabilities may have employers who refuse to make reasonable accommodations so they can do their jobs. Women often receive lower wages than men who do the same work, and when a woman becomes pregnant, an employer may unlawfully fire her. Members of the LGBT community deal with harassment and discrimination often. Employers often marginalize workers over the age of 40.
Of course, there are other forms of discrimination, such as race, religion, color and national origin, but any of these can manifest in the following actions:
- Refusing to hire you or advertising a position with preferences that exclude your protected class
- Refusing to promote you or offer benefits you have earned, such as raises or bonuses
- Denying you opportunities for advancement or keeping you in undesirable positions
- Laying off only you and members of your protected class
- Consistently promoting others ahead of you or those in your protected class
- Harassing you by directing or allowing unwelcome behavior toward you
- Creating a work environment that is so uncomfortable or offensive that you are unable to do your job
Nearly a third of all discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are related to sex discrimination, and another third are because of disabilities. Over 20% of complaints relate to age discrimination. It is not always easy to know whether your employer or co-workers are violating your rights through discrimination, so it may be helpful to keep careful records of the incidents and save any evidence in case you need to use it to prove you are the victim of unfair treatment.