Workplace discrimination is against the law when a person has a protected status. There are many different factors that are considered the basis for discrimination, so workers should ensure they are aware of these and how they might be impacted by them.
Laws against discrimination cover statuses like race, color and national origin. They also forbid discrimination because of being over 40 years old, a disability or your sex. Religious beliefs, as long as they are closely held, are also covered even if the person doesn’t identify with a mainstream religion. Pregnancy is another protected status, so employers can’t hold the fact that a woman is pregnant against her unless they would make the same decisions for a nonpregnant worker.
The protections don’t cover only people who are currently employed by a company. They also protect applicants for jobs with a company. At no point during the hiring process can people from the company ask about protected statuses or make decisions about the employment of a person.
Discrimination can come from many different individuals. You might automatically think about your supervisors, but co-workers, clients and vendors might also discriminate against you. The workplace policies should forbid discrimination in all forms from all sources, so be sure to speak up if you feel like anyone is targeting you for a reason that’s illegal.
You might need to take legal action, which is sometimes necessary if the employer isn’t taking appropriate actions for discriminatory situations. Working with someone who’s familiar with these cases might be beneficial, so you know what rights and options you have to try to rectify the situation.