Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination is alive and unfortunately well! Hello I'm Yancey and despite what many would have you believe, people of all races and groups are routinely discriminated against at work.

Job discrimination is the norm not the exception as employees continue to suffer illegal and unfair biases of all kinds.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was designed and intended to do away with discrimination on the job. However, it has been met with continued opposition in enforcement of the law.

The blight of bias in the workplace is prevalent through out the United States. In 2004 the (EEOC) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported almost 28,000 race discrimination charges with an increase of 125% from 1994 to 2004!

What is the definition of discrimination in the workplace? It is any unfair or unfavorable treatment where an employee suffers as a result of their religion, veteran status, national origin, race, disability,gender and any other protected features. The areas of employment normally affected are compensation, promotions, recruiting, job evaluations, job training, hiring, retaliation for reporting or opposing and discipline.

Discrimination in employment has over the years become less outwardly apparent. As a result of this many Americans have been lulled to sleep into believing that the societal problems of race, gender, age, religion, national origin, disability and sexual preference aren’t just as pervasive in the workplace. Discrimination itself is a terrible disease of the heart, mind and body, which if left without remedy only serves to divide and conquer. In some cases, this can lead to workplace anger and violence. When employees develop these types of concerns, it is essential that they learn about workplace violence prevention.

workplace discrimination

Types of Discrimination

Sometimes treating an employee differently may not rise to the level of workplace discrimination. Unfortunately, because of the subtle craftiness with which many employers disguise their institutional discrimination, determining if it is occurring may not be easy to distinguish. An employer may treat employees differently because of issues like misconduct or poor job performance. However, these can, have and are being manipulated by companies both by “doctoring” job evaluations and creating issues with an employee that are unjustified.

The EEOC determines what is discrimination in the workplace. For a job seeker or employee to have a legitimate charge the different treatment must be based on some protected area. The following are the characteristics that if violated provide for a claim of discrimination.

Religion involves beliefs and rituals. Employers can’t discriminate based on an employee’s religion. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on religion whether private employer, state, local government or educational institution with 15 or more employees for 20 or more weeks a year.

Sex based or gender discrimination, is the practice of employers using the sex of an employee unfairly when determining hiring, promotions, or other employment benefits. This usually affects women. Follow this link for more info on gender discrimination in the workplace.

The EEOC states, “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA's protections apply to both employees and job applicants.” Follow this link for more info on age discrimination in the workplace.

EEOC guidelines say, “It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her race or color in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.” Follow this link for more info on racial discrimination.

“An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy related condition as long as she is able to perform the major functions of her job. An employer cannot refuse to hire her because of its prejudices against pregnant workers or the prejudices of co-workers, clients or customers.” Hiring is one area of protection the EEOC provides to pregnant employees. Follow this link for more info on pregnancy discrimination.

Marital Status
If an employer discriminates or treats an employee differently because of his/her marital status it is a violation of state and federal law. This includes whether he/she is married, divorced, widowed, opposite-sex partner single or unmarried with a same partner.

"Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment."

Workplace obesity has become a source of discrimination for employees. Many consider it to be a disability.

workplace discrimination

Employment Discrimination

Discrimination in employment is an epidemic that was made worse by the events of September 11, 2001. The attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane crash in Pennsylvania created an atmosphere even more favorable for discrimination in an out of the workplace. Statistics reveal that race and religious discrimination against individuals of Middle Eastern appearance increased dramatically.

Employee discrimination can also include:

Veteran Status
It’s amazing that some businesses will discriminate because someone served or failed to serve in the military.

It is a violation of law to use an individual’s citizenship or non citizenship as justification for different treatment.

Sexual Orientation
Using an individual’s sexual preference against him/her is also unlawful. The person’s gender identification also involves how he/she characterizes him/herself to society via attire, fashion and personal appearance.

Communication or Language
Considering someone’s communication or language skills or lack thereof may be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by requiring someone to speak English only.

Using an employees political affiliation or non affiliation to discriminate is unlawful.

Workplace Retaliation
Employers punishing employees for exercising, reporting and participating in legally protected activity has increased dramatically in recent years! It is also illegal.

workplace discrimination

Workplace Discrimination

Employees who are subjected to discrimination at work will normally deal with the following;

  • fear
  • isolation
  • humiliation
  • anger
  • betrayal by co-workers
  • nervous anxiety
  • financial expense

When workplace discrimination and employment come together, the workers involved will have to persevere under a long and complicated process to seek justice and restore their rights. I have personally experienced and traveled the rocky road of workplace discrimination, termination and reinstatement. How was I able to get my job back? I took the time to educate myself about basic employee rights! Proving discrimination by various forms of evidence revealed that my termination was not justified.

That is why I can write these pages with confidence, knowledge, passion and compassion for all fellow employees wherever they are. I have been there, done that and by the grace of God conquered that and so can you! Employees seeking freedom from discrimination in the work place should first gain an understanding of their basic employee rights.

To have a legitimate claim of workplace discrimination the employee must show the employer violated one of the protected areas mentioned earlier. The biggest weapon discriminating employers’ use is the employee’s own ignorance of basic employee rights! The best way to protect your rights in the workplace is first learn them and then how to prevent and prove workplace discrimination.

If you believe you have a legitimate claim of workplace discrimination follow this link for more info on how to file a charge of employment discrimination. Seeking guidance from a competent employment law attorney is another positive option.

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