Philadelphia Employment Law News

5 Common Types of Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination and harassment can come in many forms. Because such misconduct may be subtle, it is important to recognize the different types of discrimination in the workplace so that you can protect your legal rights if you have been victimized.

Here is a short list of five of the most common types of discrimination you may find in the workplace:

  1. Race. Blacks need not apply? Your employer would have be an idiot to say that. But convicts need not apply? Now that may be discriminatory. Race discrimination is often subtle and unnecessary hiring criteria like not hiring anyone with a criminal background may be discriminatory if it leaves out a large portion of the community.

  2. Sex. No women in the C-suite? Your glass ceiling may not be broken. Look around, if every CEO, COO, CFO, etc. is a man, your employer may be sex discriminating. Your employer doesn't even need to be aware of it. Statistics may be enough to show illegality.

  3. Age. Denied because you're "too experienced?" That may just be another way of saying you didn't get the job because you're "too old." It's illegal to discriminate against people 40 or over. So an ad that calls for a younger workforce, wanting energy, fresh ideas, etc. may be discriminatory if it denies opportunities for older workers. Unfortunately, for those younger than 40, there is no law that protects "recent graduates" from discrimination.

  4. Disability. Fired because you can't type 75 words a minute? That may be illegal if you have a disability. Employees are required to accommodate your disabilities, not fire you for your disabilities.

  5. Religious. Want to wear dreadlocks to work? That may be okay for the Rastafarian. But not if you're a Christian. Employers are required to meet the special needs of people's religions by giving them accommodations. However, be aware it needs to be a "legitimate" religion, so you can't just make one up and claim your God wants you to wear shorts and sandals to work.

These are just five common types of discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination and harassment can take many forms, and you should contact an employment attorney if you feel you have been victimized.

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