Types of Workplace Discrimination With Examples
What is workplace discrimination, and what constitutes discrimination against employees or job applicants? Employment discrimination happens when an employee or job applicant is treated unfavorably because of his or her race, skin color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or age. It is illegal to discriminate in any facet of employment, so workplace discrimination extends beyond hiring and firing to discrimination that can happen to someone who is currently employed.
What is Employment Discrimination?
It is illegal to discriminate based on race, religion, gender, or national original when hiring or in the workplace. Federal contractors and subcontractors must take affirmative action to guarantee equal employment opportunity without regard to these factors. Executive Order 11246 is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
In addition, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate in hiring, discharge, promotion, referral, and other facets of employment, on the basis of color, race, religion, sex, or national origin. This is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Discrimination vs. Harassment
Harassment is a form of discrimination. As with discrimination, there are different types of harassment, including unwelcome behavior by a co-worker, manager, client, or anyone else in the workplace, that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), nationality, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
Different Types of Employment Discrimination
Workplace discrimination occurs when an individual is adversely discriminated against due to any number of factors. In addition to the reasons listed above, employees and job applicants can also be discriminated against because of disabilities, genetic information, pregnancy, or because of their relationship to another person.
- Skin Color
- National Origin
- Mental or Physical Disability
- Genetic Information
- Relationship to someone who may be discriminated against
- Pregnancy or Parenthood
Examples of Employment Discrimination
- Stating or suggesting preferred candidates in a job advertisement
- Excluding potential employees during recruitment
- Denying certain employees compensation or benefits
- Paying equally-qualified employees in the same position different salaries
- Discriminating when assigning disability leave, maternity leave, or retirement options
- Denying or disrupting the use of company facilities
- Discrimination when issuing promotions or lay-offs
Discrimination Legislation and Issues
Age discrimination is a practice specifically protected by law. With a few rare exceptions, companies are forbidden from specifying an age preference in job advertisements. Employees must receive the same benefits regardless of age, the only exception being when the cost of providing supplemented benefits to young workers is the same as providing reduced benefits to older workers.
It is illegal for employers to discriminate based on an individual s religious customs. Businesses are required to reasonably accommodate an employee s religious beliefs, as long as doing so doesn t have excessive negative consequences for the employer.
When paying a salary to men and women of the same qualifications, responsibility, skill level, and position, employers are forbidden to discriminate on the basis of gender. Also, businesses are forbidden from lowering one gender s salary in order to equalize pay between men and women.
Additionally, pregnancy-based discrimination is illegal. Employers are required to handle pregnancy in the same way that they would handle a temporary illness or other non-permanent condition that would necessitate special consideration.