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What To Do If You Are Experiencing Workplace Discrimination

December 09, 2021

Discrimination at work can be a frustrating and disheartening experience, but employees are protected under several federal laws. Most states have discrimination laws as well, such as the Washington Law Against Discrimination. If you believe you are experiencing workplace discrimination, read below for information that may help.

What is workplace discrimination?

Workplace discrimination is when a prospective or current employee is treated unfairly due to a trait such as gender, race, age, or a disability. This unfair treatment may come from coworkers, supervisors, managers, or bosses.

Common types of workplace discrimination include unfair treatment and harassment of an employee due to race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or a disability. Many employees first notice they are being discriminated against at work based on a comparison of how other employees are treated. For example, a Black employee may find his manager is harsher on him than white co-workers when enforcing rules and expectations. Such disparate treatment is workplace discrimination, and it is illegal. Employees and applicants are protected from certain forms of discrimination by several federal laws.

What types of workplace discrimination are common?

Unfortunately, there are several common types of workplace discrimination, all of which are illegal in the United States.

  • Racial discrimination—this is where an employer may discriminate against an employee due to the employee’s race, skin color, or national origin. This is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Gender Discrimination—this is where an employer may discriminate against an employee because of their gender. This too was made illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, offering employees different wages based on their sex or gender is illegal under the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination—this is where an employer may discriminate against a woman because she is pregnant or just gave birth. This is illegal under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
  • Age Discrimination—thisis wherean employer may discriminate against an employee due to the employee’s age. The Age Discrimination in Employment act of 1967 protects employees age 40 and older from being discriminated against due to their age.
  • Disability Discrimination—This is where an employer may discriminate against an employee or an applicant due to a disability the employee may have. This applies to disabilities and medical conditions that preexist before you are employed, as we to disabilities or medical conditions that develop after you are employed. Discrimination based on any disability is illegal under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

All of the types of discrimination above are also illegal under the Washington Law Against Discrimination. This Washington state law, established in 1949, protects all people in Washington state from unfair and discriminatory employment practices based on race, creed, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.

What to do if you think your employer is discriminating against you

It is important to first understand that you have the right to a work environment free of unlawful discrimination. You cannot be harassed, demoted, fired, paid less, or denied employment based on your gender, sexual orientation, race, age, religion, disability, or other protected classification. If possible, document any evidence of discrimination.

If you believe that you are experiencing discrimination at your job, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Due to time constraints, federal law typically requires that an employee file a charge within 180 days of the discriminatory action, though this period may be extended to 300 days if the employee is located in a state with a fair employment practice agency. Deadlines for bringing suit may be longer under state law. It is better to have an attorney involved in workplace discrimination issues early in order to correctly frame the issue.

When looking for a lawyer in this situation, look for an employment lawyer. These lawyers can help address issues of discrimination as well as wage and hour violations and other employment problems. It is also important to find a lawyer who has experience working with both federal and state laws that establish rights in the workplace and protect against discrimination.

If you seek additional information regarding your right to be free from discrimination in employment, you may want to review the website of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Seattle workplace discrimination lawyers

Terrell Marshall Law Group has been protecting employees from workplace discrimination since 2008. Our attorneys have years of experience and a proven track record. If you believe you are experiencing discrimination at work, contact us for help.