Discrimination in the Workplace
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Discrimination in the Workplace
Most everyone has suffered discrimination in his or her daily lives. Its something a lot of people have to deal with on a daily basis. Discrimination is a major problem mainly in the employment industry. Even though there are many laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, this problem still exist every day and many people dont know how to handle it. Discrimination is defined in civil rights law as “an unfavorable or unfair treatment of a person or class or persons in comparison to others who are not a member of the protected class because of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, physical/mental handicap, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, and other factors that may occur”.
Employment discrimination laws seek to prevent discrimination as much as possible. Discriminatory practices include bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, compensation, and various types of harassment. The main body of employment discrimination laws is composed of federal and state statutes. The United States Constitution and a few state constitutions provide additional protection to help the discriminatory practice on the employer. The Fifth and Fourth amendments of the United States Constitution limit the power of the of the federal and state governments to discriminate. The Fifth amendment has a requirement that the federal government can not deprive individuals of “life, liberty, or property”, without due process of the law. (US Constitution amendment V.) It also has a guarantee that each person receive equal protection of the laws.
The Equal Pay Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1963. The Equal Pay Act prohibits paying wages based on sex by employers and unions. It does not prohibit other discriminatory practices bias in hiring. It provides that where workers perform equal work in jobs requiring equal skill, effort, responsibility, and preformed under similar working conditions, that they should be provided equal pay.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment stating that discrimination based on the pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions constitutes unlawful discrimination. The Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the Federal Law that makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of a disability. It is also illegal to discriminate for employment based on a persons race or color. Employment race discrimination in the workplace based on association with people of a particular race is also prohibited. National Origin Discrimination is different than race discrimination. It happens when an employer discriminates because of where someone was born. Obviously, race discrimination and national origin discrimination can often go hand-in-hand. Also, a “U.S. citizens only” policy in hiring is illegal. An employer may require U.S. citizenship for a particular job only if it is required by federal, state, or local law, or by government contract. Sex discrimination is treating an employee differently because of their gender which is also illegal.
The laws against religious discrimination present employers with a kind of contradiction. On the one hand, an employer cant make employment decisions based on a persons religion. On the other, they might have to take an employees religion into account when making certain workplace decisions. This apparent contradiction comes from the fact that religion is not just a characteristic — it is also a set of practices and beliefs. The law prohibits an employee from discriminating based on the fact of someones religion (for example, that an employee is Jewish or Catholic or Baptist). However, it also requires you to make allowances for a persons religious practices and beliefs (for example, that an employee needs time after lunch to pray or that an employee needs Saturdays off to observe his