Knowing if you are a victim of employment discrimination can be difficult. You may get involved in a situation wherein you may jump into the conclusion that what the employer did to you is a form of discrimination.
For example, you are not given a job promotion you have been preparing for during the last few months. Instead, your employer gives it to someone who is younger than you and who has logged just half of your experience.
Looking at this situation, you may be tempted to think that you were clearly being discriminated against by your employer. But remember, though, that employment discrimination only happens if your employer’s actions are prohibited under employment laws. Hence, you must not rely on common sense alone.
Your employer’s actions might be a little off for you, but filing a lawsuit right away is not the best solution. It is better to know first the laws and determining to yourself if you are indeed a victim of discrimination.
Your employer may have a foul mouth and may make employment decisions that may seem unfair to you. However, your employer’s favoritism to your co-employees, as well as his or her harsh words of so-called “constructive criticism”, may not be enough to call it discrimination.
Generally speaking, an employer may fire an employee like you for any reason. Most states apply such approach, which is called “at-will employment.”
Discrimination in the workplace happens if the action of your employer towards you or to any other employee violates your employment rights. More importantly, discrimination happens in the workplace if your employer made an action that clearly violated you or your co-employee’s protective class.
This protective class includes race, gender, ethnicity, disability, and national origin. An employer who shows bias against, or complete disregard of, the employment rights of any of the protective classes violates applied federal and state anti-discrimination laws.
Once you’ve known for sure that you are a victim of discrimination, you must talk with your employer about it. If he or she is not that cooperative in dealing with your complaint, you may go straight to a federal or state agency that enforces federal and state employment laws and goes after employers who discriminate against employees. You can also seek help from attorneys if you want to file a private lawsuit.