Recognizing Workplace Discrimination: Taking Action for Fair Treatment

Posted by: kevensteinberg
Category: Blog, Employment Law

Over the past few years, workplace discrimination has become a hot topic. Companies are becoming more aware of the different kinds of discrimination that can occur in a workplace, including issues relating to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, harassment, pregnancy, and more. 

Employers need to understand how to handle unlawful discrimination when it happens within their company. The best way to deal with workplace discrimination is to be proactive and consider speaking to an employment attorney

This means being knowledgeable about the discrimination laws that protect your employees, and knowing what is going on in your company. By taking these steps, you can reduce the possibility of discriminatory treatment, and be better prepared to respond if it does happen.

Tackling unfair discrimination in a workplace will be a responsibility of everyone within a company, from employees to the human resources (HR) department to the executives at the top. It will involve reducing any possibility of discriminatory treatment, recognizing when discriminatory treatment happens, and then knowing how to respond. 

This will simply be the ethical and most humane way to behave in a world of business. Preventing and addressing unlawful discrimination will also be a legal requirement, and employers and managers have several responsibilities to reduce the risk of bias and effectively handle any complaints or concerns.

Specific steps that employers can take to prevent and address workplace discrimination include:

  • Create a workplace culture that will be inclusive and welcoming to all employees. This means making it clear that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.
  • Train all employees on the company’s anti-discrimination policies. This training should cover the different types of discrimination that are illegal, and how to report discrimination if it occurs.
  • Have a system in place for employees to report discrimination. This system should be confidential and accessible to all employees.
  • Investigate all complaints of discrimination promptly and thoroughly. If discrimination is found to have occurred, take appropriate action to remedy the situation.

By taking these steps, employers can create a workplace where all employees will feel safe and respected.

Recognizing Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace has the potential to take many forms, and it can affect employees in different ways. Common forms of workplace discrimination include harassment, which is any unwelcome conduct that is based on a protected characteristic, like race, age, gender, national origin, religion, disability, color, sex, and pregnancy, and may include verbal abuse, physical abuse, and visual abuse.

Retaliation is any adverse action taken against an employee because they have complained about discrimination or have participated in an investigation of discrimination, and may include demotion, termination, or a reduction in pay. Disparate treatment relates to when an employer treats an employee differently because of any protected characteristic, such as refusing to hire an applicant because of their race or gender.

Disparate impact is when an employer’s policies or practices have a negative impact on some protected group of employees, even if the employer did not intend to discriminate. For example, an employer’s policy of requiring all employees to work overtime may have a negative impact on employees with disabilities.

It can be difficult to recognize discrimination, as it often goes unnoticed or is written off as harmless or unintended. However, there are some signs that may indicate that discrimination is occurring in the workplace. 

Some signs may include inappropriate personal questions, lack of diversity, gendered roles and duties, offensive jokes, comments, and other forms of communication, unequal treatment of employees, negative performance reviews, and termination of employment. If you believe that you are being discriminated against in the workplace, it is important to document the incident(s). 

This can include keeping a journal of the events, saving emails or other communications, and talking to witnesses. You should consider talking to an employment attorney about your legal options.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Important anti-discrimination laws in the United States include:

  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) 
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) 
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) 
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) 
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1991 

These laws are only a few of the important anti-discrimination laws in the United States. There are many other laws that protect employees from discrimination that can vary from state to state. 

Contact Our Los Angeles Discrimination Attorney

Discrimination and harassment in the workplace are serious issues that can have significant consequences for both the company and the employee. If you believe that you have been discriminated against or harassed, it is important to speak up and take action.

Possible consequences of discrimination and harassment in the workplace can include employee turnover, in which employees who are discriminated against or harassed are more likely to leave their jobs. This can lead to a loss of productivity and morale, and it can make it difficult for the company to attract and retain qualified employees.

It can also include damage to a company’s reputation. If a company is found to be discriminating or harassing its employees, it can damage the company’s reputation with customers, investors, and the community. This can make it difficult for the company to do business and can lead to financial losses.

Legal liability means companies that discriminate or harass their employees can be held legally liable. This means that they could be sued and forced to pay damages to the employees who have been discriminated against or harassed.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace, you should take the following steps:

  • Document the incident. This could include keeping a journal of the events, saving emails or other communications, and talking to witnesses.
  • Report the incident to your employer. This should be done in writing, and you should keep a copy of your complaint.
  • If your employer does not take action, you may need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.

If you have been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace, you do not have to go through this alone. An experienced employment lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and can represent you in a legal proceeding, if necessary.

Benefits of hiring an employment lawyer will include that an employment lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, help you gather evidence to support your case, negotiate with your employer on your behalf, and represent you in court, when necessary. If you have been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace, contact an experienced employment lawyer at Steinberg Law today for a free consultation.

Author: kevensteinberg