What is an Example of Discrimination in the Workplace?

What is an Example of Discrimination in the Workplace?

If you’re like many people in California, you’ve either experienced discrimination in the workplace personally or you’ve seen it happen to someone else – but you may not have recognized it for what it was. Check out these examples of discrimination in the workplace, which can be especially helpful if you’ve been the victim and are considering legal action.

What is an Example of Discrimination in the Workplace?

Discrimination in the workplace is illegal when it’s applied to someone because of his, her or their membership in a protected class. Federal and state laws protect people against workplace discrimination based on several categories, including:

Related: California’s anti-discrimination laws vs. federal anti-discrimination laws

Here’s a closer look at the most common types of workplace discrimination in California, as well as a few examples. Remember, employers cannot unlawfully discriminate in hiring, promotion, discharge (firing or laying off), compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

Example of Age Discrimination in California

Employers aren’t allowed to advertise that they want “young workers” or people who fit a certain age demographic – but even further than that, they’re not allowed to avoid hiring someone because of that person’s age if the person is over 40.

If you go to apply for a job and the person interviewing you says something like, “Yes, you have great qualifications – but we were looking for someone who’s in their early 20s because they’re better with technology than people your age are,” it’s most likely a clear-cut case of age discrimination. It’s not always that easy to spot, though. Age discrimination could even be something like a company or other worker:

  • Offering buyouts to older workers
  • Passing up workers for a promotion when a younger, less-qualified worker gets the spot
  • Using age-related comments, like “When are you going to retire?”

Example of Disability Discrimination in California

Disability discrimination can be tricky. Your employer isn’t allowed to treat you differently from other employees based on your actual or perceived disability, and employers are required to make reasonable accommodations so you can perform your job without limitations. (When it comes to reasonable accommodations, though, you have to remember that employers aren’t required to make accommodations that would cause an undue hardship.)

Employers don’t have to hire you for a telemarketing position if you’re unable to speak, for example. But they can’t refuse to hire you for a telemarketing position because you’re in a wheelchair.

Here’s an example: A company can’t require all applicants to have a driver’s license, because some people are physically unable to drive. However, it can require bus drivers, for example, to have a license – even though it can’t require a person working in the office or as a mechanic to have one.

Example of Pregnancy Discrimination in California

Pregnancy discrimination only occurs before, during and after pregnancy. It can include things like denying time off or failing to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant or nursing employees. It can also include any negative action because of an employee’s pregnancy or related medical condition.

An example of pregnancy discrimination is an employer telling an employee that she is no longer allowed to perform certain duties due to her pregnancy, if the woman has not requested any change in job duties or modification to job duties. For example, if you’re a server at a restaurant and your employer cuts your hours “to keep you off your feet,” that could be a type of pregnancy discrimination.

Example of Race or Color Discrimination in California

Race and color discrimination occurs when a company bases any employment decision on a person’s origin, membership in a race, or the color of their skin. There are multiple examples of race and color discrimination in American history – and more occur every day – but here’s one: If an employer tells you that you should work in the kitchen rather than at the counter because you’re a minority and most of the clientele are white, that’s probably race or color discrimination.

What Should You Do if You Experience These Examples of Discrimination in the Workplace?

These aren’t the only examples of discrimination in the workplace. It happens so often – sometimes accidentally – that it would be impossible to list all the possibilities. However, if you believe you’ve been the victim of discrimination at work, you have the right to contact an attorney and ask about your situation. Call us at 818-230-8380 to tell us what happened. We’ll answer your questions and give you the legal advice you need during your free consultation with an experienced attorney.


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