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What are some kinds of workplace discrimination?

There are literally dozens of ways a person could be discriminated against in the workplace. From being called names for having a disability to dealing with sexist customers, it would be difficult to name the possibilities.

The reality is that discrimination takes place every day in various places across the country. However, it is against the law to discriminate against employees based on their religions, gender, race, national origin, disability, ethnicity, age (over 40), relationship to someone who could be discriminated against, genetic information, pregnancy or plans for a family. Here are a few types of discrimination to keep in mind.

1. Religious discrimination

Businesses do need to reasonably accommodate those with religious beliefs as long as doing so won't negatively impact the employer in an excessive manner. So, if you are supposed to spend time at church on Easter Sunday, you shouldn't be forced to work so long as that's a reasonable request.

2. Pregnancy discrimination

Pregnancy-based discrimination is against the law; employers have to treat pregnant women as if they are a worker with a nonpermanent or temporary illness. Essentially, this means that the employer has to make reasonable accommodations and be considerate of the employee's condition.

3. Gender discrimination

It's certainly not legal to discriminate based on a person's gender; this doesn't mean that a business can't have a preference in some cases (for example, hiring for a cast in a movie may require a gender preference). However, it does mean that the business has to pay the same to people of either gender who have the same experience and qualifications. Businesses also can't lower salaries to meet the lower salaries of men or women in the workplace simply to equalize their pays.

Overall, there are many ways you could be discriminated against, but it's your right to work in a safe, hostility free workplace. If you're harassed or discriminated against, you may be able to make a claim.

Source: The Balance Careers, "Types of Workplace Discrimination With Examples," Alison Doyle, accessed May 10, 2018

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