Despite numerous state and federal legislations as well as years of awareness, workplace discrimination remains a major problem in U.S. workplaces. Workplace discrimination can demoralize employees, lead to a high turnover rate, ruin the organization’s reputation and cost the employer thousands of dollars in lawsuits.
Both state and federal laws protect employees from any form of discrimination at work. But how can you tell that your employer or supervisor’s actions actually amount to discrimination?
Understanding workplace discrimination
Generally, workplace discrimination happens when an employer treats some employees less favorably than others due to their protected characteristics such as their color, race, religion, gender, nationality of origin and physical disability.
Signs of workplace discrimination
Workplace discrimination can manifest in a number of ways. Here are two warning signs that could be indicative of discrimination at work.
Harassment at work – directing distasteful jokes regarding an employee’s sexual orientation, disability, marital or pregnancy status, age or religion could lead to a hostile workplace. If the jokes or bullying persist, you can pursue the perpetrator for workplace discrimination.
Disparate treatment – this happens when the employer treats a certain group of workers more favorably than others. An example would be a situation where male workers are treated more favorably (through pay) than their female counterparts who hold similar roles in the organization.
Taking action against workplace discrimination
If you are being discriminated against at work, do not keep quiet. In California, you can report discrimination at work to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). You can also report discrimination to the EEOC. It is important that you have evidence of the discrimination at hand while reporting your claim. These can include your communications with the perpetrator as well as witness statements.
Workplace discrimination hurts both the victim and the employer. Find out how you can protect your rights and interests while pursuing a workplace discrimination claim against your employer.