Breaking down workplace discrimination

What counts as workplace discrimination?

Workplace discrimination takes place when an employee is mistreated due to any of the following: race, skin color, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, mental disability, genetics, relationships, pregnancy, parenthood or age. It’s an illegal act to mistreat any employee or discriminate on hiring, firing, promoting, referring or any other employment situation based on any of those factors. Workplace discrimination is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC.)

What separates workplace discrimination versus workplace harassment?

Nothing. Harassment is a byproduct of discrimination, and just like discrimination, there are different types of harassment. Offensive jokes, offensive pictures, unwelcomed sexual acts, assault, intimidation and ridicule are all examples of workplace harassment.

Workplace discrimination examples

Discriminatory acts can occur in several different ways, including:

  • Stating your preference for certain candidates when advertising an open position
  • Purposefully excluding certain job seekers from recruitment
  • Denying any employee benefits or pay
  • Paying employees in the same position different salaries
  • Unjustly treating employees when assigning disability/maternity leave or retirement options
  • Prohibiting or disrupting the use of company resources and facilities
  • Discriminating when hiring or firing

Are certain acts of discrimination more common than others?

Most definitely. Below are types of workplace discrimination and the number of complaints filed to the EEOC in 2017 and the percentage of complaints in which it was relevant.

  • Retaliation: 41,097 (48.8%)
  • Race: 28,528 (33.9%)
  • Disability: 26,838 (31.9%)
  • Sex: 25,605 (30.4%)
  • Age:18,376 (21.8%)
  • Ethnicity: 8,299 (9.8%)
  • Religion: 3,436 (4.1%)
  • Color: 3,240 (3.8%)
  • Equal Pay Act: 996 (1.2%)
  • Genetic information: 206 (.20%)

Workplace discrimination is a problem in American workplaces. If you feel you have been discriminated or harassed, you have rights. Fight for them.

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