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What exactly is workplace discrimination?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Workplace Discrimination |

There are federal and state laws in place that aim to protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. However, workers need to know understand these protections and their rights if they want to stand up for themselves. Many people fail to act when experiencing workplace discrimination because they do not understand what actually constitutes discrimination on the job.

Others decide to take legal action. To do so, they must establish that what they experienced legally constitutes discrimination. There are two key elements that typically need to be present for a worker to build a successful claim of employment discrimination.

A worker must endure disparate treatment

Discrimination involves treating one person or one group of people differently when compared with the average employee. That different treatment is usually negative. A particular worker or group of workers may receive fewer opportunities or face harsher punishment than others within the company. The company may fail to offer one person or a group of people the same advancement or educational opportunities it provides to others. It may turn a blind eye to harassment coming from customers or coworkers. A company failing to offer the same opportunities and treatment to all employees could lead to allegations of discrimination.

A worker must have protected characteristics

The other main element of a discrimination case is a worker or group of workers having a personal characteristic protected by the law. It is illegal to treat workers differently because of their race, sex, religion, medical condition, national origin and genetic information. Disabilities, weight and height can also be protected characteristics in Michigan. Companies should not consider protective characteristics when making decisions about who to fire or hire, to promote or who receives a waging increase. Either treating workers differently because of protective characteristics or ignoring this conduct related to those characteristics could constitute discrimination.

Employees who can prove that they’ve experienced unlawful discrimination can potentially take legal action. Workplace discrimination lawsuits can change how companies treat workers with certain characteristics and can also compensate those harmed by unfair employment practices. No one should have to endure different treatment based on their protected characteristics just to earn an income.


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