According to a 2013 National Business Ethics Survey, around 12% of American workers have witnessed some form of discrimination in their workplace.
At Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A., our discrimination attorneys believe that it is important to educate the hardworking people of Cincinnati, Ohio about these common practices. Listed below you’ll find some of the most common types of lawsuits that our team has pursued on behalf of aggrieved employees.
Age discrimination is something that many working Americans forget about when they consider the different kinds of employment discrimination. This type of discrimination usually affects older workers—and around 20% of the working population in the country (roughly 33 million people) are 55 years or older.
According to data from AARP, around 64% of older Americans say that they’ve seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Under Ohio law and under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), it is illegal for employers to deny a job opportunity to an applicant over the age of 40, or to force a current employee over the age of 40 out of his or her job, solely because of age.
It is a common practice for businesses to show preference to younger workers who are less experienced; not only will the businesses be able to justify paying smaller salaries, but they’ll also be able to capitalize on young adults who are energetic, not “tied down” by a family, and are fresh out of college desperate for a job. This means that more qualified—and fully capable—older candidates may be passed over specifically because of their age.
Americans who are disabled often have a much harder time finding—and keeping—jobs than other workers. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee based on the individual’s disability (or disabilities). The Act also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals so that they may accomplish their normal tasks.
However, there are some caveats to consider when deciding whether to pursue a claim under the ADA. For example:
- Businesses are only required to abide by the ADA if they employ 15 or more people.
- The accommodations provided to a disabled individual must be considered “reasonable,” which is to say that they should not placed an undue burden on the employer.
Disability discrimination applies to both physical and psychological disabilities, although it tends to be much harder for people with psychological disabilities to show that they are having trouble with their regular job responsibilities because of a legitimate medical condition. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it is estimated that around 7 million Americans deal with depression and/or anxiety to such an extent that it’s difficult (if not impossible) to accomplish daily tasks.
About 56.7 million Americans—which is roughly one in five people—have a disability of some form, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Just because an individual has a disability does not render him or her unable to work; discrimination against this demographic is common because of that misconception.
Although some individuals may not be able to work, it’s important to know that if you wish to do so with a disability, your right to work is protected under federal legislation.
The average workplace in the U.S. has changed a lot in recent decades. However, gender discrimination is still very common—often in ways that go unnoticed or in ways that seem too trivial to address. Many women already know that they have to fight harder to get promoted, to be respected, and to be taken seriously. However, when a female employee is passed over for a promotion or benefit, or is subjected to unfair treatment that her male colleagues do not experience, she may have a valid claim for gender discrimination.
Gender discrimination ties in very closely with sexual harassment at work. One recent survey of women between the ages of 18 and 34 found that one in three women has been sexually harassed at work. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were well over 10,000 sexual harassment lawsuits in the U.S. during 2014.
Even though women are often the victims of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at work, it is important to note that men can be subjected to this type of discrimination as well. Regardless of an employee’s gender, if his or her gender was a consideration in an important decision made by the employer, the employer’s actions may be prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Women already have it hard enough in the workplace, but women who are pregnant (or plan on becoming pregnant) often encounter even more discrimination.
In the fiscal year 1997, more than 3,900 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed with the EEOC. By fiscal year 2013, the total had shot up to 5,342.—Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Only 53% of U.S. employers provide at least some replacement pay during periods of maternity leave.— Compensation.BLR.com
While things have changes since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, the American workforce still hasn’t entirely eradicated the problem of race discrimination. In one survey titled “Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages,” researchers found that black job seekers tended to receive job offers with much lower salaries than white applicants—even when their experience levels and expertise were exactly the same.
Discrimination based on country of origin is another type of discrimination that is very common in the U.S. Unfortunately, many business owners harbor negative feelings toward immigrants today, even when those individuals are able to live and work legally in the United States.
Assumptions based on race, skin color, ethnicity, and native language are all too common. Under the Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are not allowed to treat applicants or employees differently because of any of these factors.
Religious discrimination, on a global scale, tends to be directed toward Christians and Muslims more than any other group. In the U.S., data from the Pew Research Center shows that anti-Islamic sentiments are much higher than with any other religious group. Women often face the brunt of this discrimination—whether they identify as Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, or anything else— and one-third of the global population of women encountered harassment because of their religious dress.
In fact, one study from Carnegie Mellon University found that Muslim-Americans are less likely to be offered jobs than non-Muslims in regions where conservative ideologies are prominent.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that employers may not discriminate against potential employees or current employees because of their religion—or lack thereof.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination
The protection against sexual orientation discrimination is still an evolving and unsettled area of the law. While the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was proposed many years ago for the purpose of prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, the bill has yet to be signed into law. President Obama made history when he signed an executive order on July 21, 2014, prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. However, the order’s protections do not apply to the majority of today’s workforce.
The EEOC has interpreted Title VII’s protection against sex discrimination to include a prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Additionally, some courts have found similar protections under Title VII. While less than half of the states have explicit laws in place to protect the rights of LGBTQ employees, the potential protections vary from state to state, and some employees may be able to assert a public policy claim based on sexual orientation discrimination.
One Pew Research Center poll found that one in five Americans who identify somewhere along the LGBTQ spectrum have experienced discrimination at work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. If you feel you have been terminated or otherwise mistreated because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, an employment law attorney can help you determine your potential rights and remedies.
Contact Your Cincinnati Discrimination Attorneys
If you believe you’ve been the victim of any types of the discrimination listed above, contact our legal team at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A., today. Our experienced and compassionate discrimination attorneys understand that these types of employment issues are not always easily understandable; it’s often difficult to prove when you’ve been the victim of a legitimate discriminatory practice.
Call the legal team at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. today at (513) 665-9500 or fill out the short form to ask to be contacted by one of our Cincinnati discrimination attorneys.