Discrimination at Work

Do you hear stuff like this at work?

“Only hire the young guy. I don’t have time for slow, old people.”

Those people are so unreliable, we stick to hiring the white applicants.”

IF YOU HEAR THIS AT WORK – IT’S ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION AND JUST PLAIN WRONG!

Los Angeles Discrimination lawSo, are you wondering, “Was I discriminated against at work?”

Discrimination comes in many forms, but I have tried to break it down here to make it as simple as possible. The goal in this section is to give you a basic idea of whether or not you may have a claim under California or Federal discrimination laws.  Generally speaking, bigotry and mistreatment of any protected class in the work place is considered unlawful.

It is important to note that in some cases, it may look very different; rather than clearly discriminating against one group or individual, a supervisor may favor a certain group. This can also be deemed discriminatory.

Most everyone fits in one class if not many, depending on the circumstance. There have been NEW LAWS PASSED RECENTLY to add “Military and Veteran Status” to these protected classes.

If you need help with Discrimination at work, we can HELP.

So, who is protected under discrimination laws?

DISABLED PERSON DISCRIMINATION: Discriminating against applicants or employees defined as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act also known as the “ADA” and the Rehabilitations Act is strictly prohibited under State and Federal Law. These rules make all types of discrimination unlawful when they pertain to any aspect of employment; this can be hiring, termination, job assignment, pay rate and raises, promotions, fringe benefits, layoffs and training requirements.

Workplace harassment of any disabled individual or group can include off hand or inappropriate comments and jokes or excessive teasing in such a persistent manner that it creates a hostile environment.  This type of discrimination can be at the hand of coworkers or superiors.

Lack of Accommodation: All employers are required by law to make reasonable accommodations in the workplace; these can be alterations to accommodate for a disability. The law does provide that if such changes cause an undue hardship on your employer, they can petition to be released from this obligation. If your company refused to make alterations to your workplace that would allow you to perform your job, this might be considered discrimination. We can help you understand your rights.

The EEOC definition of disability:
Simply having a medical disorder will not automatically make you part of this protected class.  In order to have a case in this area, you must be otherwise fully qualified and capable of the job and fit the EEOC definition of a disabled person:

  • Disabled Persons must have a mental or physical ailment substantially limiting to one or more significant
    life acLos ngeles DISABILITY DISCRIMINATIONtivity such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning.
  • In some cases, a person can be considered disabled if they have a history of a disability, such as being in remission after cancer treatment.
  • You may actually have a disability case if you suffer adverse action at work because a boss or coworker simply believes you have a condition. In other words, if you were fired because your boss heard a rumor that you had an illness that they didn’t want to deal with.

 NOTE: Federal employees and/or applicants are covered under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and not the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the protections are very similar. We can help you to sort out the differences.

DISCRIMINATION DUE TO AGE: Ditch the OLD, hire the YOUNG??
Unfortunately, it is within your company’s  rights to layoff a senior employee and replace them with a younger, “cheaper” employee who is capable of doing the same job. So this can be tough to prove, but if it is proven that such replacement has occurred based on age, rather than simply cutting costs, this may be age discrimination and therefore illegal.

A clearly prejudice practice such as hiring strictly individuals under a specific age, for reasons like, “old people can’t work as quickly” are discriminatory. Such practices can be implied or an actual written policy.

DISCRIMINATION BY SEX OR GENDER:
Are you wondering “What is sexual discrimination?” or “What is gender discrimination?”

These are examples of possible discriminatory comments.

“This is why I avoid hiring women. You people always get so emotional!”
“So that’s why you got that account. Maybe I’ll start wearing shorter skirts.”

Such cases often fall under both harassment and gender discrimination.

Being denied employment or promotion based on your gender or stereotyping, or being forced to perform particular duties at work just because “you’re a woman” may be discrimination. Discrimination is not limited to women by any means, and may start as little things that you brush off for a while. However, if a supervisor allows such behavior to continue, it may be deemed an institutional problem.  Such attitudes toward discrimination can mean penalties just for allowing it to go on.

Favoritism is a very common form of Sex and gender discrimination. Though you may not be directly “abused” for being a man, perhaps you were clearly denied one or more promotions when less qualified female employees were given the position.

The same laws provide protection for women who are or become pregnant.

DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE:

So what is racial discrimination and what does it really look like?

Most people think they know this one, but let me clarify.

Were you denied a promotion or position while a less qualified employee of a specific race was given the position? Have you been told you can only do a certain job within the company because of your race? Such stereotyping IS DISCRIMINATION!

Any employee claiming they are the victim of discrimination must prove the following:
#1  at the time of the incident or incidents you could be considered a member of at least one protected class. Usually a minority, but not always, i.e. you are African American and the “other party” is not.
#2 at the time you were demoted, fired, not hired or disciplined, you were duly qualified for the job that you applied for or were doing while meeting employer’s expectations.
-in other words you possess all skills necessary and your employer has made no previous complaint regarding your performance.
#3 the person who was hired or promoted over you was given the position simply because they were of a certain race.

Often an alternative cause is provided that is clearly untrue, i.e. “the other applicant had more experience” when they did not. While this can be difficult to prove, we have had great success in employment cases and are here to help you every step of the way.

EVIDENCE IS KEY!
You may have evidence you don’t even realize. Do you have emails or text messages related to the discrimination or witnesses who will back up your claim?  Collect anything you think may help, no matter how small and give us a call.

Resources for discrimination information: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/race_color.cfm

DISCRIMINATION DUE TO NATION OF ORIGIN:
Immigration discrimination is included in this class and is effected by several newly passed laws.

If you are fired, denied a job or promotion, allowed only to do specific jobs or otherwise abused at your workplace based on your nationality or immigration status, this pertains to you.

 Examples of Nation of Origin Discrimination:
“You’ll only work here as a maid.”
“Only white employees are allowed to work up front.”
“I’ll report you to the INS if you don’t quit complaining and do your job.”

Believe it or not, we’ve heard things just like this and these comments and actions are illegal!

You don’t have to live like this. If this kind of abuse is happening in your office, we want to hear from you!
2014 saw many NEW LAWS that may help protect you as well.

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