Employment discrimination is a pervasive issue that can profoundly impact individuals’ professional lives and mental wellbeing. While the specifics can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, most countries have laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on certain protected characteristics. Understanding the different types of employment discrimination is the first step to recognizing and combating these unjust practices and an experienced employment lawyer can help you to do this.
1. Racial Discrimination
Racial discrimination occurs when individuals are treated unfavorably because of their race, color, or personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture or facial features). It can also involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or color.
Age discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of their age. In the U.S., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although some states have laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination.
3.Sex or Gender Discrimination
Sex or gender discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of that person’s sex. It can also involve treating someone less favorably because of his or her connection with an organization or group that is generally associated with people of a certain sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation, is also prohibited by law.
Religious discrimination involves treating a person unfavorably because of their religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs.
Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act treats a qualified individual with a disability unfavorably because of that disability. The law also requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense.
Pregnancy discrimination involves treating a woman (applicant or employee) unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.
7.National Origin Discrimination
National origin discrimination involves treating people unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of their ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not).
8.Genetic Information Discrimination
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. This includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about any disease, disorder, or condition of an individual’s family members (i.e., family medical history).
Remember, understanding and recognizing these forms of discrimination is the first step to ensuring that workplaces are diverse, inclusive, and respectful environments. If you believe you have experienced discrimination at work, consult with a team of employment lawyers to explore your legal options.