Sex-based employment discrimination is common throughout the world, even in the United States. At its most fundamental level, this discrimination involves the treatment of another person in an unfavorable way as a result of his or her sex. Fortunately, federal and state laws protect employees from this kind of discrimination and they can fight back if they've been victims of the behavior.
Age discrimination is real and as the baby boomer generation gets older, it's only becoming more widespread. This kind of discrimination might be subtle and difficult to pinpoint in some cases. A job applicant could simply get passed up because he's over 50 -- but the hiring manager says it's because he's unqualified. It could also be overt and obvious when a manager asks an employee, "Aren't you ever going to retire?"
Imagine you've been working at a Detroit manufacturing facility for years, and suddenly, you look around and notice that everyone you see at work is from one racial demographic. After looking deeper into the practice you discover that there could be a terrible reason why your black and Latino friends were denied their job applications and why you were denied the last several promotions: Job-related racial discrimination.
An invisible disability is a type of disability that isn't readily apparent to the people around you. Someone who is in a wheelchair or needs to use a cane to walk would have a visible disability. Meanwhile, someone who is suffering from chronic back pain, a migraine, depression or ADD might have an "invisible disability" because no one can see it.
In the not too distant past, if you were of a different sexual persuasion, you probably kept a tight lid on it – only revealing this to your closest confidants. This secrecy had a good reason, not only were people of different sexual orientations commonly discriminated against socially, but they might even lose their jobs or have trouble finding jobs. These days, the social climate is quite different, and those who identify as homosexuals can more comfortably be open about it. Nevertheless, state and federal laws have yet to catch up with this social trend of acceptance.
When Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, individuals with various health and ability challenges throughout the United States achieved a major victory. The ADA requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations so that individuals with disabilities could perform their job duties and work for them.
The vast majority of companies offer some form of sexual harassment training. According to the Association for Talent Development, approximately 71 percent of employers have implemented a form of sexual harassment prevention training that they require all employees to complete. An even higher percentage of employers have created a written policy on sexual harassment that defines the behavior and provides guidelines for victims who need to report such abuses to make them stop.
Old age is a fact of life. At some point in our evolution, we simply look, feel and even act like we're getting older. The thing is, just because we're getting older and have a few more gray hairs is not a valid reason for employers to discriminate against us on the job. Age discrimination is unlawful and the employers who discriminate against the aging members of their workforce unfairly can be held accountable in court.
Michigan law is very specific about protecting its citizens from workplace discrimination. The law makes it clear that it is illegal to discriminate against any person on the "basis of age, arrest record, color, height, marital status, national origin, physical or mental disability (including AIDS and HIV), race, religion, sex and weight." No company, no matter how big or small, is exempt from the discrimination laws.
A former transgender funeral director recently won a favorable decision against Michigan-based R.G & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes for discrimination. The former funeral director was transitioning from a male to a female when she was fired from Harris Funeral Homes in 2013 after disclosing her secret.