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Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination

Source | Myron

In 2010, more than 100,000 charges were brought against employers who were charged with discrimination. Today, discrimination is not just racial. Employees are reportedly being discriminated against for their gender, disabilities, religion and even in retaliation for a multitude of different reasons. Sometimes, the discrimination can be so subtle, that it goes unnoticed and unreported.

Discrimination is illegal, no matter what form it takes and while it hurts employees, it hurts the companies that they work for as well. Businesses can and will have hefty fines levied against them if they are found guilty of discrimination. Here are a few examples of discrimination at work:

Recruitment and Selection

Workplaces are not permitted to be discriminatory when they are recruiting for job openings or selecting staff for promotions. It is illegal to not provide employment to a candidate simply because of their race or religion. Equally, it is illegal not to select a candidate because they are female, pregnant or have a different socio-economic status.

Terms and Conditions of Employment

An employer is not permitted to have any term or condition of employment which would exclude or discriminate against any person. For example, it is illegal to dictate that employees are not permitted breaks for prayer time, as this would be discriminatory against a person’s religion.

Wage Discrimination

Statistics show that male employees make more money and are promoted more often than their female counterparts. It is illegal however, for employers to promote a man over a woman (or vice versa) simply based on their gender. Equally, it is illegal to pay a man or a woman more than the opposite gender colleague for doing the same job.

When you encounter a situation where discrimination is occurring, it is important to deal with it quickly to mitigate the damage. Sit down with the individuals involved to get a better idea of what the root of the problem is. Education is key when it comes to discrimination so ensure that offenders are provided with the laws and company policy as it pertains to zero-tolerance. Corrective action measures need to be implemented for repeat offenders.

It is just as important for employees to report discrimination as it is for employers to recognize that discrimination is occurring in the workplace. Working together is important in the identification and prevention of workplace discrimination. This protects employees and businesses alike from problems in the future.

Would you be able to identify workplace discrimination if it was happening where you work?


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