Discrimination in the workplace may be subtler today than in years gone by, but it still takes place and it is illegal. According to the law, discrimination is the denial of employment, termination, and/or alteration of the terms of employment (such as wages, hours, job assignments, and bonuses) based on what is known as a “protected classification.” Under the law, employers have the duty to prevent discrimination.
If you have been discriminated against in the workplace, your employer may be liable for damages. The Oklahoma City discrimination attorneys at Hasbrook & Hasbrook have experience representing individuals and groups in a wide range of employment discrimination matters. We can determine whether or not your rights have been violated and, if you have been discriminated against, help you obtain the compensation you deserve for the wrongs done to you. Here are several examples of discrimination in the workplace that frequently occur in the work environment.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) protects individuals 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age. This applies to both employees and to job applicants. It is against the law for an employer to discriminate against a person, based on age, with respect to employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training. The ADEA does permit employers to favor older workers based on age.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) prohibits disability discrimination against “qualified individuals with a disability.” This is defined as an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question, despite the disability. Federal law defines “disability” as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or regarded as having such an impairment.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions. As with other Title VII discrimination charges, for a claim to proceed, the employer must have at least 15 employees.
Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination:
- An employer treating an employee, who is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, differently than how other temporarily disabled employees are treated.
- An employer prohibiting employees from returning to work for a predetermined time after childbirth
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 5,587 pregnancy discrimination complaints in the 2007 fiscal year. The EEOC resolved 4,979 and recovered $30 million.
Oklahoma is an “at will” employment state, which means that the employer-employee relationship can be terminated by either party, for any reason, at any time. It is illegal, however, for an employer to take any adverse action against an employee based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who opposes, reports, or speaks out against race discrimination.
Gender Discrimination / Sex Discrimination
It is against the law for employers to discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of his/her sex in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Sex-based discrimination generally falls under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees.