Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
When discrimination happens at work, where employees earn their livelihood, it can cause extreme emotional distress for employees who feel forced to choose between speaking up against discrimination and risking retaliation. Although the law prohibits retaliation against employees who have a reasonable belief that they have experienced discrimination and oppose or report discrimination, i.e. through reports to management or Human Resources, each case is unique and many employers know how to disguise their retaliatory motives. By consulting with an employment attorney, employees can gain important insight regarding their options.
- By way of background, federal law protects against employment discrimination when it involves unfair treatment because of an employee’s race, as well as retaliation for reporting race discrimination,
- With respect to employers with 15 employees or more, federal law protects employees against
- discrimination on the basis of sex (including pregnancy), race, national origin, religious, disability and genetic information.
- severe or pervasive harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace, because of sex (including pregnancy), race, national origin, religion, disability or genetic information.
- denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation needed based on the employee’s disability
- denial of reasonable accommodations based on religious beliefs
- Retaliation because an employee complained about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
- With respect to employers with 20 or more employees, federal law prohibits discrimination or harassment based on age (over 40).
Employees experiencing discrimination should promptly consult with an attorney who practices employment law to review their evidence and proof of discrimination and to help them decide how to move forward.