What is Employment Discrimination?
Employers generally have wide leeway in making decisions about hiring, firing, and terms and conditions of employment. However, there are some limitations regarding what an employer can factor in when deciding how a worker is to be treated. The biggest limitation is that an employer cannot make decisions based on a worker’s protected status.
There are myriad anti-discrimination laws on the state and federal level that provide protection for different groups of people. For example, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prevents an employer from treating a worker differently because he is over the age of 40. The employee’s advanced age is his protected status and if an employer makes a decision on the worker’s career because of his age, this is an example of employment discrimination.
Employment discrimination has high stakes both for workers and employers. If you are involved in an employment discrimination dispute, or if you want to understand how to prevent such a lawsuit, it is a good idea to get help from an Irvine, CA business and employment lawyer. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide advice and represent you in your discrimination case. Call today to learn more.
Understanding Employment Discrimination Laws
In addition to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibiting ageism, other anti-discrimination laws also exist as well. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, and national origin. The Americans with Disabilities Act precludes an employer from discriminating against someone because of disability and requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations to allow for a disabled worker to have productive employment he is qualified for.
If an employer considers race, religion, age, disability status, gender, or other protected status while making any work-related decisions, this can lead to an employment discrimination claim. This includes decisions about whether to hire someone, whether to fire them, how much to pay them, when to promote them, and a whole huge host of other situations as well.
In addition to overt employment discrimination that would occur if an employer considers protected status, there are also other forms of employment discrimination. For example, sexual harassment is a type of workplace discrimination that can give rise to an employment discrimination claim.
If a seemingly-neutral employment requirement, like a pre-hiring screening, ends up having a disproportionate impact on a particular protected class, this can also be considered employment discrimination. The employer’s defense of an accusation based on this type of discrimination may include showing that there was a legitimate bona fide reason for administering the test or imposing the employment requirement. The test must be shown to be directly-related to the job.
Finally, hostile work environment discrimination is another type of employment discrimination. This occurs when an employee’s co-workers make him or her feel uncomfortable at work because of his protected status. When a group of male workers continually tease a female worker about her gender, this could be considered hostile work environment discrimination. Unless an employer has a plan in place to allow the employee to report this type of discrimination, and takes action to stop the behavior, an employer can usually become responsible when an employee’s co-workers create a discriminatory environment.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide more information on employment discrimination and can help with employment discrimination legal issues. Call today to learn more.