Types Of Discrimination In The Workplace

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Whenever the topic of discrimination in the workplace is mentioned, most people in the United States tend to automatically think about sexual harassment of female employees by their superiors. This is but one type of discrimination that can occur in the workplace.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency tasked with investigative oversight of workplace discrimination matters. According to the EEOC, there are 11 types of employment discrimination.

Age: The most common discrimination in this regard is to prefer younger employers who are willing to work longer and more productive hours for a smaller paycheck.

Disability: This type of discrimination is often considered to be favoritism towards able-bodied employees, but in many cases it may extend to physical condition and even appearance.

Equal Compensation: This aspect of equal employment is mostly centered on gender-based wage discrimination, which historically has consisted of paying female employees less. With women increasingly dominating certain career fields, however, we are starting to see claims by male workers in the nursing field with regard to unequal pay.

Genetic Information: The advancement of bioengineering in the 21st century gave rise to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which is a futuristic-sounding law that blocks employers from using their workers’ genetic information against them when it comes to making human resources decisions.

National Origin: As the world’s largest and most diverse cultural and ethnic melting pot, discrimination of American employees based on their national origin or ethnic heritage makes no sense.

Pregnancy: Treating expecting employees unfavorably is prohibited by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which seeks to strengthen familial ties by providing workers with a workplace environment that is sensitive and receptive to their needs.

Race and Color: Similar to discrimination of workers based on their national origin, employers are prohibited from allowing the race and skin tone of their workers from influencing their hiring, compensation, scheduling, or assignment decisions.

Religion: The unfair treatment of workers or job applicants based on their religious creeds or practices is a clear case of employment discrimination. In some cases, such behavior may be considered a more serious violation of civil or human rights.

Retaliation: Employers who face a discrimination complaint may act maliciously to get back at the grievous employee. This sort of behavior may include termination, censorship and various other actions that may be construed as retaliation.

Sex and Gender Preference: Discrimination against employees based on their gender or sexual orientation may be construed as harassment in some cases, and it might result in strong sanctions against the offender.

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