Understanding and recognizing discrimination and sexual harassment – part one
Federal, state, and local laws prohibit employment discrimination. As a manager, you represent your organization in the workplace. Leading by example will ensure that incidents of discrimination do not occur.
Discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently based on membership in a protected class. Discrimination against an individual based on his/her membership in the following protected classes is prohibited:
- Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] protects employees with disabilities.
- Title VII protects individuals based on race, color, religion, gender, and national origin.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act [ADEA] protects individuals who are over the age of 40.
- Other federal, state, and local laws may also protect individuals based on veteran status, marital status, or sexual orientation.
Discrimination in employment can include any term or privilege of employment including but not limited to hiring, compensation, benefits, training, promotion, demotion, corrective action, and termination. Here are some examples of discrimination that can occur in the workplace:
- Issuing a corrective action to an employee over the age of 40 for violating the attendance policy, but not to an employee under the age of 40 who commits the same violation.
- Paying a female employee less than a male employee, when all factors are equal.
- Offering a promotion to a Caucasian employee, but not to an equally qualified minority employee.
- Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation such as a schedule change upon request for a religious observation.
An increased awareness in the workplace will help you ensure that discrimination is not present or practiced in your organization.