Recognizing Discrimination In The Workplace
What Exactly Is Discrimination?
Simply stated, discrimination against an individual means an employer treats anyone differently than others because of the person’s race, aged, sex, disability, or other protected status. This can include harassment employees might experience at the hands of supervisors or other co-workers in the workplace, as well as unfair treatment in pay or promotions, or the denial of a reasonable accommodation needed due to a person’s disability and/or religious beliefs. Not all forms of “discrimination” are illegal. For example, it is not illegal for an employer to discriminate because of personality conflicts, or because the employer prefers taller rather than shorter employees. In most states (Kentucky is a notable exception), it is not illegal to discriminate against smokers, in favor of non-smokers. Different states and even municipalities may have their own laws and regulations prohibiting various other types of discrimination.
How to Recognize Discrimination
As your Cincinnati employment attorney knows, discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. In some instances, discrimination can be tough to recognize in the workplace. Employees should not hesitate to make note of the things happening to them or to others while at work that seem to be the result of unequal treatment based on a discriminatory motive
Job assignments, pay, and promotions are areas sometimes revealing possible discrimination. If more qualified people are passed over for promotions or paid less than others for no apparent reason, illegal discrimination may be the cause.
Obviously, any derogatory or demeaning comments made by co-workers or management to other employees is inappropriate and may constitute illegal discrimination, especially if those comments refer to, or are motivated by, the employee’s age, race, gender, disability, or other protected status.
What to Do If You Believe You’ve Been Discriminated Against
Individuals who witness or experience any form of discrimination while at work should consider reporting the discriminators to upper management. No one deserves such treatment while at work, and the treatment might actually be against the law. Additionally, while it is not uncommon for certain workers to make jokes or comments deemed discriminatory in nature, those acts should not be encouraged, and should be reported as well. Advising management about such incidents in a timely manner will effectively put an employer on notice of such behavior.