Employment Discrimination Details

Race/Color Discrimination

Race or Color discrimination exists where a person is discriminated against based on the person's race or color of his or her skin.  Race means a class of persons identifiable because of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics. Race and color claims are often filed together. However, a person can be discriminated against because of the preson's “color” opposed to the person's race. For example a dark-skinned African-American may be discriminated against by other lighter-skinned African-Americans.

Race discrimination also extends to an individual’s association with people of a certain race or color. For example it would be unlawful for an employer to fire a white male employee because he is married to an Asian-American woman.

Race discrimination is not limited to racial minorities. Title VII protects against discrimination against any race of people if the discrimination is based on the person’s race.

For more information about race discrimination in the workplace check out the following websites:

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/race_color.cfm

http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/discrimination/ethnicdisc.htm

http://www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/workersrights/rightsatwork_e/disc_race.cfm

http://www.hrhero.com/topics/race_discrimination.html

National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination exists where a person is discriminated against based on the country that person or that person’s ancestors are from. National origin discrimination can also include discrimination based on the fact that an employee has physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of a particular national group.

If an employer has an English-only policy in the workplace, that may be an example of national origin discrimination. An English-only policy, however, does not violate the law where there is a justified business need for the policy, and the employees have had proper notice of the policy.

It is also unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee because that employee has an accent. This is another example of national origin discrimination. An employer, however, may be able to discriminate against an employee based on that person’s accent if the accent affects the employee’s ability to perform a job that requires communication skills.

An employer cannot prevent an individual from wearing certain clothing associated with that employee’s national origin. If other individuals in the office are given latitude as to how they dress, than an employee is permitted to dress in ways that represent that employee’s national origin. However, if the employer has a uniform dress code that everyone must follow, an employee is not permitted to wear whatever he or she would like if wearing such would violate the dress code.

For more information about national origin discrimination in the workplace check out the following websites:

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/nationalorigin.cfm

http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/discrimination/ethnicdisc.htm

http://www.hrhero.com/topics/national_origin_discrimination.html


Sex/Gender Discrimination

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of the employee’s sex or gender. Sex and Gender discrimination consist of discrimination based on an employee’s biological sex or an employee’s gender.

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on gender stereotypes. For example if an employer discriminates against a female employee because she does not act “feminine” enough or a male employee because he does not act "masculine" enough the employer has violated the law.

The Equal Pay Act prevents an employer from paying a person more or less money based on that employee’s sex. If a man and a woman working essentially the same job at a company are paid different wages based on nothing other than their gender, that company is in violation of the Equal Pay Act.

An employer cannot create policies regarding the appearance of employees that create an undue burden for one sex over the other. For example, an employer cannot require that female employees where uniforms and have a certain appears, while allowing men who do the same job to come into work wearing whatever they would like. Appearance standards that apply equally to men and women, however, are not unlawful.

For more information about sex/gender discrimination in the workplace check out the following websites:

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sex.cfm

http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/discrimination/ethnicdisc.htm

http://www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/workersrights/rightsatwork_e/disc_gender.cfm

http://www.hrhero.com/topics/sex_discrimination.html


Pregnancy Discrimination

Within Title VII there is a Pregnancy Discrimination Act which makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee because she is pregnant.

The law has expanded to cover certain situations associated with pregnancy as well. An employer cannot discriminate against a woman if she has plans to become pregnant, even if she is not pregnant yet. An employer cannot fire a woman who takes time off of work to undergo in vitro fertilization. An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because the employer learned that the woman had an abortion.

An employer is also required to provide accommodations to a pregnant employee, where the accommodations are reasonable and have been afforded other disabled or injured employees. Where an employer’s healthcare plan excludes certain benefits that apply only to women, that plan may also constitute a violation of Title VII.

For more information about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act check out the following websites:

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/pregnancy.cfm

http://www.hrhero.com/topics/pda.html

Religion/Creed

Title VII protects employees from any adverse treatment they receive because of their religion. An employer is also required to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee because of that employee’s religion.  For example, it your religious beliefs require that you do not work on a certain day of the week you may request that your employer accommodate you and not schedule you to work on that day, if it does not unnecessarily interfere with the functions of the business. 

For more information about discrimination in the workplace based on religion check out the following websites:

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm

http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/discrimination/ethnicdisc.htm

http://www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/workersrights/rightsatwork_e/disc_religion.cfm

http://www.hrhero.com/topics/religious_discrimination.html

Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

It is unlawful for an employer to allow one or more of its employees to be harassed or subjected to a hostile work environment. However, all harassment is not unlawful. Harassment is only against the law when a person is being harassed because of their sex, race, religion, national origin, age or disability. Other types of harassment may be annoying and even unbearable in some instances, but they are not against the law.

There are two types of sexual harassment, Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment and Hostile Work Environment sexual harassment.

Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment is when an employee is treated better or worse depending on whether or not that employee gives in to sexual advances by another. For example, if one female employee who acquiesces to the boss’s sexual advances is treated better than female employees who do not, the employees who are treated worse may have a case for Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment.

Hostile Work Environment sexual harassment exists where an employer’s sexual conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employee’s job performance or creating a hostile and intimidating environment. Hostile work environment cases involve both verbal and physical conduct of both a sexual and nonsexual nature, so long as the purpose is to create a hostile or offensive working environment.
 

For more information about harassment and hostile work environments check out the following websites:

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm

http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/discrimination/ethnicdisc.htm

http://www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/workersrights/rightsatwork_e/sexharass.cfm

http://www.hrhero.com/topics/sexual_harassment.html

 

 


If you feel you were discriminated against in the hiring process, or were denied advancement opportunities, or were terminated because of your race, gender, age, religion, national origin, or disability anywhere in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, please contact our offices immediately at 856-778-9700 for consultation. You may also submit an inquiry using our secure web form for our offices to review.

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