Employment discrimination is a pressing issue that affects many individuals in the workplace. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives between 60,000 and 100,000 employment discrimination claims every year.
If you’re living in the Bay Area and think you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, you’ll want to read this piece. We’ll discuss what employment discrimination is and the types of discrimination that can occur. We will also cover signs to look out for and how you can prove employment discrimination in a legal case. Contact one of our Oakland employment discrimination lawyers today to learn more about how you can protect your rights.
What Is Employment Discrimination?
Employment discrimination occurs when an employer treats an individual unfairly based on certain protected characteristics. Federal and state laws prohibit employers from making employment decisions based on factors such as race, sex, age, disability, religion, and sexual orientation, among others. These decisions can include hiring, firing, promotions, salary adjustments, and other terms and conditions of employment. Employment discrimination protections also prohibit inappropriate verbal and physical actions that create a hostile work environment.
Types of Discrimination
Many types of employment discrimination exist, and the number of protected categories continues to increase. When Congress passed the first anti-discrimination laws in the mid-1960s, only a few characteristics like race, color, and national origin received protection. Since then, the list has grown considerably:
- Racial Discrimination – As you might imagine, racial discrimination refers to treating employees unfavorably due to their race. It protects all races.
- Color Discrimination. While frequently confused with race discrimination, color discrimination is a distinct issue. It often occurs in situations when individuals of the same race receive disparate treatment due to the lightness or darkness of their skin color.
- Sex or Gender Discrimination – The phrase “gender discrimination” extends to sex-related conditions as well, so pregnancy discrimination is also unlawful. Moreover, courts have recently interpreted “sex” and “gender” to encompass gender identity and gender expression discrimination.
- Age Discrimination – Federal law prohibits employers from treating employees unfairly based on their age. However, these protections apply only to employees who are 40 years or older.
- Disability Discrimination – Discrimination against individuals with physical or mental disabilities is prohibited. Employers can also discriminate based on disability when they fail to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
- Religious Discrimination – This means treating employees unfavorably due to their religious beliefs or practices, or failing to accommodate their religious practices in the workplace.
- National Origin Discrimination – Discrimination based on an individual’s country of origin, ethnicity, or accent is also prohibited.
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination – This means treating employees unfairly based on their sexual orientation. It does not matter whether the employee identifies as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.
Signs of Discrimination
It can be very difficult to identify discrimination in the workplace. Part of the reason for this is that it manifests in many different ways. That said, there are some frequent signs of discrimination. These include:
- Disparate treatment – treating employees differently based on their protected characteristics;
- Stereotyping – making assumptions or generalizations about employees because of their protected characteristics;
- Exclusion – systematically excluding certain employees from important meetings, projects, or social events;
- Retaliation – disciplining or firing anyone who speaks up against discrimination or reports it; and
- Hostile work environment – creating a culture filled with offensive jokes, inappropriate comments, or other behaviors against employees because of their protected characteristics.
Some of these signs are subtle. Others can be blatant. In many situations, managers will attempt to mask discrimination using business-related reasons. For instance, a racist manager may fire an Asian employee because of supposed “layoffs.”
If you believe you are being discriminated against in the workplace, King & Siegel LLP welcomes you to call our legal team today at (213) 465-4802 for a free review of your case.
Proving Employment Discrimination
To prevail in an employment discrimination claim, you need to establish several points. These elements can vary slightly based on your exact situation. However, you will generally need to prove that:
- You belong to a protected class (like a certain race, gender, or religion);
- You suffered an adverse employment action, such as being fired, not being hired, or being denied a promotion; and
- The circumstances suggest that the motivation for the adverse employment action was your protected characteristic.
Proving discrimination can be challenging, as employers often provide alternative explanations for their decisions. However, with the right Oakland employment discrimination attorney, you can compile evidence of discrimination. Your attorney can then analyze these facts and build a strong case in your favor to present in a court.
King & Siegel LLP Is Ready to Help You Defend Your Rights
If you’re experiencing employment discrimination, you may feel terrified and overwhelmed. You are probably concerned about the dangers to your career if you speak up. You may also be feeling physical and mental health effects from the discrimination.
However, the most important thing you can know right now is that you are not alone. Here at King & Siegel, we are passionate about representing anyone suffering from employment discrimination. We want to do everything we can to make workplaces across the country free of discrimination, sexual harassment, toxic work environments, whistleblower retaliation, wage issues, and other unfair practices in the workplace. Consequently, we’re prepared to use our extensive educational and professional experience on your behalf.
Even if you aren’t sure about moving forward with an Oakland employment discrimination attorney, contact us right away. We provide free and confidential case reviews for all potential clients. Let our team start fighting for you today.