Employment discrimination generally exists where an employer treats an applicant or employee less favorably merely because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. It may also occur if an employer disciplines, terminates, or takes unfavorable actions against an employee or job applicant for discussing, disclosing or asking about pay. Employment discrimination can be against a single person or a group.
You have the right to work in an environment free of discrimination. You cannot be denied employment, harassed, demoted, terminated, paid less, or treated less favorably because of your race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. You also have the right to discuss, disclose or inquire about your pay, the pay of your co-workers, and the pay or offered to job applicants.
Forms of Discrimination
Discrimination may take many forms and it does not have to be intentional to be illegal. Generally, there are two types of discrimination that the law prohibits:
Disparate treatment occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee less favorably than others who are similarly situated, and the different treatment is because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.
Disparate impact occurs when an employer has policies or practices that appear fair and are fairly applied but have a negative impact on members of a particular sex, race or ethnic group, individuals with disabilities, or other protected groups.
EXAMPLES OF DISCRIMINATION
• Assigning all Hispanic employees to a particular work area;
• Paying women less than men for the same work;
• Teasing employees who speak with an accent that goes beyond occasional or a single incident;
• Promoting only certain employees based on their sex or race;
• Requiring tests, like math tests or lifting requirements, that are not related to doing the job but that screen out applicants of particular groups;
• Denying paid sick leave to female employees recovering from childbirth but allowing paid sick leave for employees recovering from knee surgery; and
• Firing an employee for discussing her pay with a co-worker.