Each year thousands of employees face discrimination at work – some of whom don’t even know it. Discrimination can come in many forms and be for many reasons, including sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, and even pregnancy status. From small actions like harmful speech to termination for reasons relating to a protected class, it’s important to know your rights to ensure that you are being treated fairly at work.
If you’ve faced any of these situations in the workplace, contact an experienced employment lawyer to learn more about your options.
Discrimination in the Workplace
Harmful language is one of the most common forms of discrimination in the workplace. Language that makes fun of, belittles, or makes you feel uncomfortable can be considered discrimination when it is based on a protected class you fall into. For example, mocking the accent of a non-native speaker or making sexist jokes at employee’s expense could be considered harassment and discrimination – especially when done by a superior.
Limitation of Duties or Opportunity
Have you and other members of a protected class been limited or passed up for a promotion without merit? Discrimination, such as limiting opportunity for advancement for an expecting mother or segregating employees of a certain class from others in the workplace, not only includes active acts of mistreatment but also includes denying your ability to succeed due to unlawful reasons.
If you and another employee who share similar responsibilities have drastically different salaries, discrimination may be occurring. Differences in race, gender, or any other protected class may not be a reason for unequal pay for the same job.
Unfair Maternity or Disability Leave
Pregnancy may not be treated differently than an employee’s disability requirements. This includes paid or unpaid time off, special accommodations to enable you to continue working, and holding your position during leave as well as fair treatment before and after maternity leave.
Termination Without Just Cause
Regardless of whether you are an at-will employee or contracted employee, your termination may not be due to race, religion, or any other protected status. This includes retaliatory termination after exercising your rights as an employee for other discriminatory practices you’ve suffered.