People often say they know what discrimination at work looks like even if they can’t exactly define it, but sometimes it’s not that simple. Just as with any other kind of discrimination, there are ways your rights could be violated in covert ways that not even you may readily recognize.
Who Can Be Discriminated Against?
If you’re trying to understand whether or not you are a victim of discrimination, the first thing you should consider is whether or not you can be identified with a legally protected characteristic.
More often referred to as “protected classes,” these characteristics include:
- Age (if 40 or older)
- Skin color
- Sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation)
- National origin
- Genetic information
This is not a comprehensive list of California’s protected classes, but it gives you an idea of the breadth of the covered characteristics. People might assume workplace discrimination only applies to two or three items on the list above, but the reality is that state and federal law protect a much wider gamut of people.
Discrimination in Action
Once you can recognize who can be discriminated against, it’s important to be able to know what actions against such people would constitute discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission broadly outlines actions as “unfair treatment,” and while that’s not an inaccurate description by any means, it is an incomplete one.
Unfair treatment can mean any of the following and more:
- Direct actions such as name-calling, threats, acts of violence, or other harassment motivated for a discriminatory reason
- Adverse employment actions (firing, reprimands, etc.) motivated by someone’s association with a protected class
- Employment and career advancement decisions that avoid hiring or promoting people on the basis of their association with a protected class
- Company policies, practices, and traditions that actively or passively discriminate against a protected class (prohibited hair styles, bans on headscarves, “guys’ night out,” etc.
- Selectively applying company policies and restrictions to someone associated with a protected class
- Denial of a reasonable accommodation for a disability or religious beliefs
- Failure to adequately report or intervene with effective solutions when an employee complains about acts of discrimination
- Retaliation against employees who complain or report discrimination at work, assisted with such an investigation, or are involved in such a lawsuit
While even this isn’t a complete breakdown of everything that can constitute discrimination at work, the key takeaway here is this: When unfair treatment at work is based on someone’s real or perceived association with a protected class, discrimination is likely occurring.
Do You Need Legal Representation?
Because it’s not always easy to recognize discrimination on your own, reaching out to an employment law attorney can help you evaluate your claim. Professional legal practitioners like ours at Limonjyan Law Group know what discrimination at work looks like because we have years of study and experience on this topic.
Our attorney has helped many clients like you get the best possible resolutions in employment law matters disputes involving discrimination and more. If you have a valid claim, we can help you seek fair and just compensation for what happened.
Schedule an initial consultation with us by reaching out online or calling (213) 377-6707. We can help you evaluate your claim and provide next-step options for pursuing legal action against your employer.