Categorized | Workplace

Against Workplace Discrimination

Posted on 28 November 2008

workplace discrimination 300x234 Against Workplace DiscriminationKeeping a job is hard enough these days without having to worry about being discriminated against in the workplace. Many hard-working and apt individuals continue to experience discrimination in the modern workplace, whether they are passed over for promotions, treated less fairly than fellow employees, or fired for reasons unrelated to their job performance. Employees may take some assurance in knowing there are legal grounds on which to secure their rights.

Discrimination Laws Vary

Discrimination laws cover many forms of employment bias including those based on race, color, religion, nationality, age, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability, marital status and others. But discrimination laws can vary from state to state, or in some cases, not covered at all on the federal level. For example, there is no federal law that specifically prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation for either the public or the private sector.

According to the editors at Nolo.com, a web site that provides legal information to the public, only eleven states (and the District of Columbia) have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in both the private and public sector. These include California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

You need to determine if your situation is a simple misunderstanding and whether or not you can easily clear it up yourself.

If state law fails to protect you from workplace discrimination, you may still be covered by city and county ordinances. The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (lambdalegal.org) maintains a list of state-by-state anti-discrimination laws which you can check out.

Older Workers

There are also laws protecting workers who face discrimination in the workplace because of their age. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) provides for workers ages 40 and older. ADEA makes it illegal for employers to arbitrarily discriminate against their workers in any employment decision due to their age; nor can they be forced into retirement under ADEA. ADEA applies to federal and private sector employees in workplaces with 20 or more employees, as well as labor union employees. However, ADEA does not apply to state employees.

discrimination at workplace Against Workplace Discrimination

Determining Discrimination

You can sue your employer or co-workers on a number of legal theories that cover discrimination on the job. According to Nolo.com, specific acts of workplace discrimination include intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, harassment, assault, battery, invasion of privacy, defamation, interference with an employment contract, and wrongful termination.

You need to determine if your situation is a simple misunderstanding and whether or not you can easily clear it up yourself. If the situation is something more serious, you will need the assistance of an outsider to resolve it for you. Try to discuss it with your employer. If a satisfactory response is not reached with the person you feel is discriminating against you, or their superior, you will need to contact an attorney or file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. Do not hesitate to act on this, because many states have laws with time limits on which to seek relief.

Document It

You will be in a better position to enforce your workplace rights if you carefully document the circumstances. Record and date each significant work-related event such as performance reviews, commendations, salary increases or decreases, reprimands and informal comments your supervisor makes to you about your work. Document the date and time of each event, which supervisors or managers were involved and if any witnesses were present.

It is also important to back up your log with copies of the employee handbook, memos and any written evaluations or criticisms of your work. When a problem does develop, ask to see your personnel file and make a copy of all reports and reviews in it.

Report It

If you believe your employer has discriminated against you for any reason, you can file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.eeoc.gov). Call the EEOC at (800) 669-4000 for the office nearest you. If the EEOC does not handle the complaint to your satisfaction, you can follow up the matter with a lawsuit.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Torres Oey says:

    what’s this about? I am insulted

  2. jason says:

    Ha, an article about discrimination that uses the discriminatory CAPTCHA system to submit comments. Is this double standards.

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