The U.S. is often described as The Great Melting Pot. The American identity is a mosaic made up of elements of many unique cultures that combine to create our own unique profile. It would be hard to imagine Detroit, for example, without the European, Middle Eastern and Southern U.S. immigrants who came here to work in the automobile industry.
Department store chain Dillard's recently announced that it will pay $2 million to settle claims that it practiced workplace discrimination by asking employees who were using sick time to provide detailed medical information regarding why they needed the time off from work.
The owner of several Panera Bread franchises recently agreed to pay $76,000 to settle a class action lawsuit filed by black workers who alleged that they were discriminated against for being black.
By now, we hope that Detroit readers understand that a workplace cannot discriminate on the basis of sex, race, ability/disability or religion. Those are pretty firmly set "protected classes," meaning demographics that courts and lawmakers have realized are sometimes discriminated against and so have expressly said such conduct is not okay.
One message we want Detroit-area residents to hear loud and clear from this blog is that they have rights in the workplace. Certainly, you can be fired if there are performance issues and you can be laid off if economic situations truly merit a reduction in staff. But there are many reasons you cannot legally be dismissed as well.
Getting fired is never a good thing, especially if your termination was wrongful. If you feel something was unjust about being dismissed from your job, you might want to talk to a Detroit-area employment law attorney about the matter. In some cases, filing a lawsuit can make the best of a bad situation. It certainly does not happen in every case, but sometimes the favorable results of a wrongful termination lawsuit are pleasantly surprising.
Detroit readers might have seen a photograph circulated on media outlets a few weeks ago of two military mothers breastfeeding their children while uniform. The photographer who took the image took the picture as part of a campaign to support working mothers and women who are breastfeeding. Now, she claims that position is part of the reason why she was recently dismissed from her civilian job.
A majority of Detroit residents would agree that diversity in the workplace brings many benefits. However, sometimes a push for diversity among employees can result in unfair workplace discrimination.
According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, claims of religious discrimination are on the rise in the workplace. This seems to indicate two things: first, that as places like Detroit become more diverse, employees are more aware of their religious rights and second, that employers may be having difficulty keeping up with what they are supposed to do.
The body of U.S. employment law was drafted with an eye towards protecting employees. Jobs are vital to everyone's well-being, of course, and our society would suffer if people were dismissed capriciously or for taking steps like reporting harassment.