Workplace and employment decisions should occur based solely on an employee’s work performance. Work performance can include their work product as well as their ability to perform as a member of a team. Personality and productivity are both important.
Workplace discrimination occurs when an employer makes decisions regarding an employee’s job based on factors other than productivity or personality. When an employer makes decisions about employment based on the protected class an employee belongs to, that is illegal.
What are some protected classes?
Protected classes that some employees may belong to can include but are not limited to the following:
- Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions)
- Sexual orientation
- Marital status
- Physical or mental disability
- Medical condition
- National origin
You may have experienced workplace discrimination if you are a member of a protected class and believe your employment has suffered because of it.
How could your employment suffer?
In cases of workplace discrimination, your employment suffers negatively due to your status as a member of a protected class. Adverse employment actions could include not getting hired, getting passed over for a promotion in favor of a less-experienced employee, getting demoted, receiving a pay cut or getting fired. Unfortunately, employers often cite legal reasons for all of their hiring and firing decisions, regardless of whether or not those reasons are true.
Being denied training and a chance to succeed, suffering a hostile work environment or regularly getting assigned unsavory duties that no one else is ever given may also be discrimination.