Many employees fail to realize that there is a difference in harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Under federal and state regulations, it is unlawful to discriminate against or harass someone that works for the employer. Below are examples of differences between harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment in the workplace includes the following.
- Telling jokes that are insulting about certain racial groups or certain genders
- Sending emails that are illicit or sexual
- Having screensavers or posters that are offensive or pornographic in nature
- Putting down or picking on someone’s religion or ethnicity
- Asking questions that are considered to be too personal about someone’s personal life or that are sexual in nature
- Openly being racial
Discrimination in the Workplace
Discrimination is a little different from harassment. The categories are listed below.
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Veterans status
If an employee feels that he/she has been discriminated against or harassed in the workplace, though they are different things, it is best to contact a lawyer, explain the facts, and see what can be done. No one, including the employee and the employer, should ever let discrimination or harassment continue. It is against the law and employees can have it stopped by filing charges against the employer alleging harassment or discrimination. Employees and employers should contact their lawyers today for more information.
There are protections in place for employees regarding discrimination in the workplace. Since the civil rights movement, state and federal governments have created and enacted a variety of laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of membership in a protected class. Over time, the categories included in the protected class explanation have broadened.
Currently, employers are forbidden from discriminating against an employee because of the employee’s race, religion, gender, or national origin under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers cannot fire, discipline, deny training opportunities, refuse to hire, demote, pay less than other employees, harass, or refuse to promote employees simply because of their membership in one of these protected classes.
An employee who feels that he or she was not treated fairly because of his or her membership in a protected class may have grounds for an employment discrimination lawsuit. Since these lawsuits are notoriously complex and difficult to prove, it is essential to hire an attorney early on to be well informed about options. Not every case will meet the grounds required for an employment discrimination case, but for those were evidence exists, legal recourse may be an option.
Even though employers are prohibited from taking the above actions, employee complaints continue across the country. Employees who believe they have been victims of discrimination should contact legal counsel as soon as possible to discuss next steps. Employers should also contact legal counsel as soon as possible to defend their position that discipline or termination was justified for cause and for reasons other than discrimination.
Employment discrimination is a broad term, but there are several laws in the United States related to preventing discrimination based on sex, religion, race, physical disability, national origin, and age. In addition to these factors, there are more laws evolving about preventing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, too.
Discrimination is not just about hiring and firing, either. There are many different situations that could fall under the umbrella of Houston employment discrimination such as job assignment issues, compensation, retaliation, promotion, discipline, and harassment. Rights outlined in the U. S. Constitution provide some protections, but there are other laws in place to help prevent workplace discrimination or provide recourse for victims once it has already happened.
Some of the laws that may govern a workplace discrimination suit include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, , the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Uniform Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act.
An individual who has been discriminated against because of his or her membership in a protected class could be seen as a victim of workplace discrimination. Whether it is hiring, promotions, general harassment in the workplace or termination, employees may be able to argue workplace discrimination in Houston mediation sessions or court.