Posted By Sirmabekian
Despite the many state and federal laws against it, discrimination in the workplace still occurs. Understanding the different manifestations and how to respond to them will help combat it by making the perpetrators pay.
How is Discrimination Defined?
Discrimination entails any negative behaviors or actions that target someone for a certain characteristic. Examples of such characteristics include religion, age, sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity. An employee that is facing discrimination in the workplace will be primarily judged based on these attributes instead of their ability and merit. It can occur at any time, from the interview and hiring process until termination.
What Types of Discrimination do Employees Typically Face?
Discrimination in the workplace can be broken down into four categories, which are:
- Disability discrimination: An employee that has a disability involving their hearing, eyesight or other physical limitations may face discrimination from their co-workers or supervisors. In addition to verbal or written insults, these employees may be overlooked for promotions or not given the same opportunities as others.
- Racial discrimination: This involves treating an employee poorly due to their skin color, facial features, hair type, national origin or accent. As with disability discrimination, employees may feel that their complexion prompts either co-workers or management to treat them badly or deny them opportunities that are given to others. Co-workers might also play into common stereotypes which are associated with certain groups.
- Age discrimination: While age is respected and valued in some companies and cultures, there are others who feel that people over a certain age such as 65 should be retired, and may subject them to poor treatment because of it or question their abilities.
- Gender of sexual orientation discrimination: While women are most frequently viewed as being victims of gender discrimination, men have also been targets. And while societal views towards same-sex relationships have softened greatly in the last fifty years, there are still people that have an issue with it. Such individuals may make their feelings known in unpleasant ways.
What You Can do about It
There are laws on the books for all four discrimination categories which prohibit it. However, in order to take your case to court, you must have proof. You must be able to demonstrate that your co-workers or boss routinely discriminated against you because you fall under one or more categories. Examples of such actions include:
- Disrespectful communication, where a supervisor makes offensive jokes
- Assigning an unrealistic workload that is much higher than other employees in an attempt to cause failure
- Excessively disciplining an employee beyond what is normally accepted or wrongfully terminating them
- An employee is routinely denied promotional opportunities even if they meet all the criteria
- Delays involving payment or being paid less than owed
While some forms of discrimination are direct, such as making an offensive statement, other forms are indirect and these are the hardest to prove in a court of law. In order to win a case involving discrimination, you must be able to display a large body of evidence, and you must also hire an experienced attorney as your employer most likely has a legal team of their own.