Ask a Lawyer: What is Consider Workplace Discrimination
Protection against discrimination in the workplace is guaranteed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Missouri Human Rights Act. However, discrimination still happens, and if you are a victim, you need to fight for your rights. Before moving forward, you need to get advice from a workplace discrimination lawyer.
Ask a Workplace Discrimination Lawyer: What is Considered Workplace Discrimination?
Discrimination can be based on several conditions, such as:
- Sex, gender, and sexual orientation
- National origin or race
- Parental status
While certain forms of discrimination can be disguised as a “cultural bias”, misunderstandings, and jokes, what matters is the effect on the victim and not the intentions of the harasser. If you experience discrimination or witness discrimination against one of your colleagues, you must speak up. Some of the most common forms of discrimination are:
Employer Fails to Accommodate a Disabled Employee
Employers are required by law to accommodate disabled employees. In other words, companies need to make workplace facilities accessible and provide equipment and furniture so the employee can continue performing their tasks. However, bear in mind that the law states that these accommodations must not pose an excessive burden on the company.
Employer Fires a Woman While Maternity Leave
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents discrimination against pregnant women, including termination, pay, job assignments, changes to their job description, and promotions. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, women can take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave during which their employment is protected.
Supervisors or Coworkers Create a Toxic Work Environment
Lewd or offensive comments, jokes, and “locker room” talk create an environment where an employee feels threatened or uncomfortable and can constitute discrimination. If this is the case, you need to report harmful behaviors to your supervisors, who are required to enforce corrective measures.
Qualified Employee Is Denied a Promotion
Suppose you were not considered for a promotion because of your gender, ethnicity, age, or disability, and you know you were the most qualified candidate. In that case, you may be able to file a discrimination claim.
Two Employees Have Different Wages for the Same Work
If you learn that your peers have a higher salary for the same position, you have a valid reason for a discrimination complaint. According to the Equal Pay Act, employees whose activities are “substantially similar” must be equally compensated.
Employer Coerced Employees To Participate in Religious Ceremony
You cannot be forced to participate in religious rituals such as prayers or attend events that go against your religious beliefs. Employers are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious beliefs and practices (as long as they represent a “minimal burden” for the business).
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. While it is not considered a crime per se, many behaviors associated with sexual harassment are felonies (such as sexual assault and stalking). Victims of sexual harassment must file an internal claim, and employers are required by law to respond to that claim by facilitating a safe environment for them, and taking further actions to correct the behavior (these may include training, policy changes, and terminations).
If your employer fails to investigate a sexual harassment claim, or if they don’t take immediate corrective measures, you need to file a claim with the Missouri Department of Labor. If, after 180 days, the agency has not reached a verdict regarding your claim, you need to ask for a notice of right to sue and take your case to court.
Retaliation is another form of discrimination that takes place when an employer or supervisor harasses an employee after reporting a workplace issue. Employees reporting safety violations, discrimination against themselves or other employees, or any illegal practices in the workplace are known as whistleblowers, and their employment is protected by law. Employers or supervisors cannot take disciplinary action against an employee who participates in a workplace investigation.
What Should You Do if You Are a Victim of Discrimination?
First, you need to find a Kansas City based workplace discrimination lawyer. It’s essential to get a professional lawyer to analyze your situation, explain your rights, and draft a strategy. It’s also crucial to save copies of all documentation and communications regarding your claim (such as text messages, emails, memos, and a copy of your internal complaint, signed by a supervisor).
Even when there are laws to protect human and civil rights, discrimination in the workplace is still prevalent. For many victims, it is difficult to recognize the abuse, often disguised as company culture or harmless jokes. Finding a good lawyer to represent you is the best way to end discrimination and, if applicable, get fair compensation for your struggles.