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Discrimination in the Workplace in 2019

By on September 17, 2019

Under California law, employees discriminated against are protected by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Federal law also protects the rights of job applicants and employees, but on a more limited basis than California through the following statutes:

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
  • The Age Discrimination Act
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963

Discrimination in the workplace occurs when adverse material actions are taken against an employee or individual applying for employment as a result of certain protected classes, including:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Disability
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Veteran Status

The below Sections provide descriptions on each of the primary types of discrimination of in the workplace. You can click on the links in each Section for more information on each type of workplace discrimination.

Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

Treating a job seeker or employee unfavorably based on their race or personal characteristics/attributes associated with race (like skin color, hair texture, or facial features) amounts to racial discrimination in the workplace.  Color discrimination is a form of racial discrimination solely based on a person’s skin color. Although racial discrimination or racism is usually associated with perpetrators of another race, discrimination can also be inflicted by persons of the same color or race. 

Click here for more information on racial discrimination in the workplace laws, statistics, case examples.

Age Discrimination In The Workplace

What is age discrimination?

According to the United States EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), age discrimination is treating applicants or employees less favorably because of their age. Age discrimination in the workplace is forbidden in the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act). According to the ADEA, age discrimination is applicable to older persons only (persons aged 40 and above). Although there are states in the U.S. with laws protecting younger workers from being discriminated based on their age, it isn’t illegal for employers to favor older workers over younger ones even when both workers are aged 40 or above.

Age discrimination legislation in the U.S. dates back to 1967 when congress passed the ADEA to offer workers specific employment protections. The law is applicable to employers who have a workforce of 20 or more employees. The ADEA prohibits age discrimination at all employment levels from hiring and recruitment to employment relationship and decisions for termination or layoffs. 

Click here for more information on age discrimination in the workplace laws, statistics and case examples.

Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

What is gender discrimination?

Gender discrimination in the workplace refers to negative or unfair treatment in the workplace because of a person’s gender. While men and women are all victims of gender discrimination in US workplaces today, women tend to suffer more than men (42% vs. 22%).

Click here for more information on gender discrimination in the workplace laws, statistics, case examples and other pertinent information.

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

What is religious discrimination?

The EEOC – the federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing laws against discrimination in US workplaces defines religious discrimination as; treating an employee or applicant unfavorably because of their religious beliefs or practices. 

Individuals who belong to traditional organized religions like Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism are protected by the law (Title VII, of the CRA of 1964) from discrimination. The protections extend to individuals who hold religious, moral, and ethical beliefs. Religious discrimination extends to treating a person differently because they associate with or are married to individuals who practice a certain religion. 

Click here for more information on religious discrimination in the workplace laws, statistics, case examples, and other pertinent information.

Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

What is pregnancy discrimination?

Treating women employees or job applicants unfavorably because they are pregnant or have a medical condition/s related to childbirth or pregnancy amounts to pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. 

Examples of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

Pregnancy discrimination in workplace cases come in many forms. The main ones include:

  1. Discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, etc.
  2. Lack of accommodation
  3. Harassment
  4. Denial of right to maternity/parental/pregnancy leave
  5. Denial of additional rights under the FMLA

Click here for more information on pregnancy discrimination in the workplace laws, statistics, case examples, and other pertinent information.

Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

What is disability?

To understand disability discrimination, it’s important to define the term disability. 

First and foremost, the law doesn’t protect everyone with a health/medical condition. To be considered disabled, you must have all of the following:

  1. A mental/physical condition which limits major life activities like walking, hearing, seeing, talking, and learning significantly.
  2. A history of disability i.e., cancer in remission 
  3. A mental or physical impairment that isn’t transitory, lasting 6 months or less and minor even in the absence of such an impairment

What is disability discrimination?

Disability discrimination is defined under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the Rehabilitation Act. If an employer or any other entity covered in the Rehabilitation Act and ADA as amended, treats qualified persons with disability (applicants or employees) unfavorably, such treatment qualifies as disability discrimination. 

Employers are expected to offer reasonable accommodation to job applicants or employees with a disability unless accommodation causes significant expense or difficulty (undue hardship). Disability law also extends protections to persons in a relationship with persons with disability. For instance, it is illegal to be discriminated against because your husband/wife/child has a disability. 

Click here for more information on disability discrimination in the workplace laws, statistics, case examples, and other pertinent information.

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