Types of Discrimination in the Workplace

Unfortunately, workplace discrimination is all too common in the U.S. Thousands of people report incidents of discrimination to the government each year, and many more suffer in silence.

There are various types of discrimination in the workplace that can cause considerable hardship or distress. It’s important to know that the law protects you. There are things you can do to protect your rights.

In this article, we’re taking a look at the most common types of discrimination in the workplace. As well as what you can do lawfully to protect yourself and stop the abuse.

What Is Workplace Discrimination?

Most of us are aware of what discrimination is. However, it’s not always obvious in the workplace when someone gets different treatment due to something they believe in, how they look, their age, or something else specific to them.

Workplace discrimination happens when a job candidate, employee, or someone else in the workplace faces unfair treatment because of who they are, not what they can do.

There is a government body you can turn to. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws and protecting people against discrimination in the workplace.

The core areas of discrimination they have the authority to investigate include:

Race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.

If you think you’ve been unfairly treated due to any of the above factors, you may have been a victim of workplace discrimination.

Common Types of Discrimination in the Workplace

Common Types of Discrimination in the Workplace

Here is a closer look at each of the core types of discrimination the EEOC protects employees against:

Race Discrimination

It is illegal for anyone in the workplace to be treated differently or unfavorably because they are of a certain race, color, or have any features or characteristics that are associated with a race.

This also extends to treating someone unfavorably because they associate or are in a relationship with someone of a certain color or race, too.

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination involves treating someone differently or unfavorably because of their religious beliefs. Or, even due to the fact that they have no beliefs.

Employees and organizations also have to make efforts to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices and beliefs.

This may mean being flexible with working hours to allow someone time to pray. Or, allowing them to break the dress code to wear their religious clothing.

Sex Discrimination/Harassment

When someone experiences unfavorable treatment because of their sex, gender, or sexual orientation, it comes under the umbrella of sexual discrimination.

Sexual harassment is also a huge problem across the U.S. Sexual harassment is any sexual acts from one person to another, such as things like unwanted advances, jokes and comments, emails, and general harassment. 

The EEOC estimated that anywhere between 25-85% of women have experienced sexual harassment at work. With a total of around 19% of American adults having experienced some form of sexual harassment at work.

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of their age. This is the common perception someone is too old. But it also applies to different, treatment whatever the person’s age.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was introduced to stop employers from discriminating against people who are 40 years of age and older. This act doesn’t protect workers under the age of 40, but it’s still illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their age.

Disability Discrimination

It’s illegal to treat someone in the workplace unfavorably due to a disability. This means both physical disabilities, such as using a wheelchair, and mental disabilities, such as episodes of depression.

A lot of people were noticing discrimination during the hiring process when they had a disability. In 1990, The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) came into force.

This act increased the level of protection people with disabilities have. Along with making it illegal to discriminate against anyone during the hiring process on the basis of a disability.

Understanding the Civil Rights Act of 1964

In 1964 a U.S. legislation called the Civil Rights Act was passed to try and end discrimination based on color, race, religion, or national origin.

People refer to it as one of the most important U.S. laws on civil rights. It was passed at a time when racial segregation and discrimination were at a high. But it’s still an important law today in protecting us against types of discrimination in the workplace.

If you feel like you’re the victim of discrimination for any reason, you’re protected by this law, along with bodies like the EEOC.

What Should You Do if You’ve Facing Discrimination at Work?

If you feel like you’re being discriminated against or harassed at work, you should seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you should;

  • Follow any procedures set in place for making a discrimination complaint at your workplace.
  • Make detailed notes of dates and times of any incidents, who was involved, any witnesses, etc.
  • Keep a file with copies of anything that may support your case. Such as emails, notes people passed you, and so on.

We understand how difficult it is to file a discrimination complaint. There is the added stress of thinking your job is at risk, the backlash from other employees, and the very real possibility of retaliation from the person you’re accusing.

But you have to do it, the situation is not going to get any better otherwise. By calling a lawyer, you can have some peace of mind knowing you have a representative who will fight for your rights.

Call the Office of Shaun Kent Today

The laws around workplace discrimination can be complicated and are often sensitive by nature. It’s not always easy to prove you’re suffering from unfavorable treatment due to one or more of the types of discrimination covered above.

This is why it’s crucial that you call our offices to arrange a consultation. We have lawyers experienced in handling workplace discrimination cases and will guide you through your options step-by-step.

Call us today on 803-433-5368, or contact us via this form. We’ll get right back to you to arrange a free consultation to discuss your case.