What Qualifies as Job Discrimination?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Employment Law

When it comes to the workplace, fair treatment should be the order of the day. Everything from getting hired for a job, to being promoted to a new position, to being demoted or even terminated, needs to be based on objective standards.

However, that ideal has rarely been the case in a practical sense. Discrimination of one form or another used to be the way things were, and ever since the 1960s the United States has been passing laws to block those practices. Even though it’s illegal now, though, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still happen.

What Is Job Discrimination?

According to Chron, job discrimination is whenever an employee is mistreated because of a factor that is beyond their control rather than for actions they’ve taken. That definition is purposefully broad, as it’s meant to show that discriminating against someone for any reason that is beyond their control is wrong, and falls outside the bounds of legality.

Some of the more common factors that come up in terms of job discrimination include:

  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Gender and gender expression
  • Religion
  • Sexuality
  • Disability

These are, of course, far from the only factors that can lead to job discrimination. Any factor that has no bearing on an employee’s ability to do their job, from their hairstyle, to their body art, to the music they listen to should not be considered when it comes to how they’re treated on the job.

What Does Job Discrimination Look Like?

When most people think of job discrimination, they think of someone simply not being hired, or being harassed because of something they can’t control. Whether it’s because someone’s name is, “too ethnic,” or a manager thinks they’re, “just too old,” when they come in for an interview, or someone being berated because of their sexual preference or ethnicity, those things are most definitely forms of discrimination.

Job discrimination does come in other forms, though, as Reference points out. These can include:

  • Unfair conditions (making one employee follow stricter requirements or different rules than others)
  • Unwanted advances
  • Lower pay for the same position
  • Refusal to make arrangements for religious or disability needs

In short, discrimination is something that happens whenever you treat one employee differently from others because of a factor that has nothing to do with their performance or abilities. It could be minor (such as making thoughtlessly rude comments about someone’s religion), or it could be major (firing someone for no reason beyond they’ve turned 60, and that is when their manager believes they need to move on), but it is still job discrimination.

What Can You Do If You’re A Victim of Job Discrimination?

If you can prove you were a victim of discriminatory treatment, then you can sue a company for damages. In some cases, such as with sexual harassment, you may also be able to bring criminal charges against individuals who perpetrated this behavior.

They hard part, though, is to prove the discrimination in question.

While more extreme versions of job discrimination are fairly easy to prove (a dozen witnesses heard a manager screaming racist epithets at someone before terminating them for no apparent reason), other types of discrimination are easier to hide. That’s why if you’re going to try to take a company to task for job discrimination, it’s important you have evidence as well as an expert on your side who will fight for you.

If you find yourself caught up in a job discrimination case, and you need help to move forward with it, all you have to do is contact us today. We’re here to help make things right.

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