Discrimination at work is a problem everyone faces at one time or another. Being overlooked for a promotion or laid off due to lack of work can be indicative of varying degrees of discrimination. There are several types of discrimination found in the workplace. Members of management and co-workers who are found to be guilty of bullying co-workers through discriminatory acts can be fined, forced to take days off or even fired for their actions.
Racial discrimination occurs when minorities are overlooked for jobs they are most definitely qualified for. Although it is a blatant violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, racial discrimination is still in existence. Affirmative Action was created to make sure that every employee had the right to move forward within a company.
Gender discrimination involves choosing a person for a specific position or achievement solely on the basis of their gender. For example, a man and a woman are up for the same supervisor’s position. The woman has much more experience and knowledge, but the man is chosen without explanation. Depending on the circumstances, a discrimination case could be opened to determine why the woman was overlooked for the job.
Discrimination of an individual because of their age was targeted with the Age Discrimination Act of 1967. As a work force becomes older, many seasoned employees are offered early retirement packages to make way for new employees. Those who don’t take the packages are often let go or laid off despite years of dedication to the company. An older employee who tries to re-enter the job market will often times be over looked to allow for a younger candidate to assume the position. The reasoning behind this normally is because in a few short years, the older person will be ready to retire and the company will once again have to hire and train someone new.
Individual who believe they have been discriminated against at work, have several options they can pursue. Discrimination at work involves being overlooked due to age, race, religion or disability. Most companies who claim to “Equal Opportunity Employers” do their best to make sure each employee is treated as fairly as possible. When discrimination does occur, however, an employee can take action by contacting members of management and then pursuing a claim with their state’s labor board.
Most companies have policies concerning discrimination at work and allow employees to file grievances if they believe they have been a victim. Once all procedures have been followed, the situation is addressed and mediation occurs. If it is determined that discrimination has occurred, the person in violation is disciplined and actions are taken to correct the situation.
Individuals who believe they are being discriminated against must come forward and make members of management aware of the situation. If they don’t, other works could be bullied in the same manner causing dissension within the company. If the bullying is being perpetrated by members of management, the next step would be to contact the state’s labor board. Filing a claim with the labor board will bring in an outside investigator who can evaluate the situation without bias.
The labor representative would listen to both sides of the argument, interview all personnel involved and then review the case to make a determination. If the result is in favor of the company, little action would be taken on the part of the labor board, except to close the case. If the victim wins the case, the company may be forced to pay them a settlement or put them in line for the next available position, if they choose to remain with the company.
Individuals who are victims of discrimination must act on their own behalf if they feel they have been wronged by their employer. Acts of discrimination and bullying by members of management will continue to occur in varying degrees if supervisors and managers are allowed to harass workers or overlook them due to specific characteristics such as:
- physical disability
In most cases, if one person is being discriminated against, there are others as well. Coming together as a group is an effective way of fighting back against discriminatory tactics. It is also harder for the company to dispute if there are several individuals who are willing to file a claim with the labor board on the grounds of discrimination.