As an employee, you probably expect to receive fair treatment at work, but sometimes you may sense a bias toward your colleagues. Your dedicated work ethic, experience and quality performance might not merit the negative attention you receive.
Human resources should be made aware of policy changes and decisions about compensation that are not fair to specific groups or individuals. If you think your employer crossed the line into unlawful territory, you can explore your options for holding them accountable.
Protected classes are intended to provide equal opportunities
Workplace discrimination is against the law. Your employer cannot treat you differently than your colleagues because of your:
- Marital status
- National origin
It is also illegal to base employment decisions on a previous arrest record or your physical appearance, such as height or weight. However, discriminatory behavior isn’t always obvious.
When could I file a discrimination claim?
Obvious maltreatment because you are a member of a protected class is easy to recognize. Yet, preferential treatment is typically more subtle.
For example, did your employer:
- Exclude you from traveling with your team because you’re a new mother?
- Train an equally qualified candidate, who is not in your protected class, for client-facing work?
- Keep younger, less qualified, workers employed when eliminating your position?
- Fire you when you filed a complaint about a co-worker’s derogatory comments?
It’s natural to become frustrated when it feels like others neither respect nor value you, and no job is worth an infringement of your human dignity.
You need not tolerate a hostile work environment for continuing employment. Labor laws protect you from harassment, discrimination and job loss due to reporting an employer’s misconduct.