Workplace Rights and Discrimination Policies
In a 2011 national report, 45% of workers in the U.S. Reported seeing wrongdoing in the workplace and 22% of people who reported the incidents said they received some form of retaliation because of it. Out of everyone who witnessed the wrongdoing 46% did not report it because of fear of retaliation if they did. What some workers don’t know is that there is a whistleblower law in place to protect workers who report incidents from any form of retaliation from the company. Under this whistleblower law, you are able to report your company or management for fraud, discrimination or any other type of unethical behavior within the business.
A lot of the times discrimination, in some form, is involved in the wrongdoings of upper-level management and is when a person is treated unfairly or less favorably due to some aspect of their character. This is, in fact, illegal and can be brought to a discrimination lawyer in order to file a case for the wrongs committed and receive reimbursement for any emotional or financial hardships due to the victim. Here are the six main areas of discrimination that it is illegal to treat someone differently or fire because of:
- Age: Elderly workers being treated differently, passed over for promotions, or dismissed from a job entirely are examples of age discrimination. These types of workers are protected under the ADEA (age discrimination in employment act) which is a federal law in place to protect workers 40 and up from discriminatory conduct due to their age.
- Race: At least 1/3 of contributing factors for black Americans receiving lower wages is due to racial discrimination. A good example of race discrimination would be, a black employee and a white employee with the exact same qualifications making a vast difference in salary or wages due to skin color.
- Religion: It doesn’t matter if someone has pronounced themselves a satanist, an individual cannot be let go or treated differently because of their religion. Following your religious beliefs shouldn’t have consequences, especially from your employers and any harassment in the workplace because of religious beliefs should be dealt with swiftly by upper management.
- Sexual orientation: A person’s sexual orientation refers to which gender they are attracted to and there is no current federal law protecting an individual, whether they are gay, lesbian, or heterosexual from harassment or discrimination at work. Although, there are some states that have managed to pass laws protecting these individuals it all just depends on where you live and where you work. All attempts to pass these laws at a federal level has been unsuccessful so far.
- Gender: Even though women make up 46% of the workforce in the U.S. There are still instances of discrimination based on gender. An example of gender bias you may encounter may be something along the lines of unequal pay, less responsibility, decreased opportunity, or termination.
- Disabled: Around 19% of the American population has reported having a disability of some kind, that is around 56.7 million people, so you can imagine that there are plenty of people with disabilities in the workforce. As long as you can perform the specified job requirements then you should have the same opportunity as everyone else applying for a job. Also, if you already have a position and then become disabled you cannot be terminated based on this disability.
This also applies to the application process, an individual cannot be passed over for a position due to any of the above criteria. As far as reporting incidents go, you can understand why someone with a family to feed and bills to pay would be hesitant to involve themselves in something that could risk their livelihood, but thanks to the whistleblower law anyone who reports instances of discrimination will be protected against any type of retaliation from employers, maybe if more people knew about this whistleblower law then they would help rid the workplace of injustice more often.
So if you have been treated unfairly in the workplace you may have a discrimination claim and can not only get compensation but also deter them from any type of future unethical behavior by showing that there will be consequences.