Being victimized by discrimination can be crippling, especially in the workplace where it can affect your performance, and limit the opportunity for advancement. As harassment is a form of discrimination, they go hand in hand.
Workplace discrimination shows itself when an employee experiences any unwanted behavior based on their race, gender, religion, age (if the victim is 40 years old or older), sexual orientation, disability, the color of skin, or religious affiliation. Depending on the circumstance, the discriminatory action becomes harassment. The most common form of harassment is workplace retaliation.
Workplace discrimination is illegal during all stages of employment (hiring, firing, and everything in between.)
It’s also unlawful for an employer to suppress any employment opportunity from a potential employee due to their partner’s race, religion, or ethnicity.
Which discriminatory acts are the most common?
The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) released information highlighting the most common workplace discrimination complaints in 2018.
- Workplace retaliation: 51.6% of all complaints
- Sex: 32.3%
- Race: 32.3%
- Disability: 32.3%
- Age: 22.1%
- Nationality: 9.3%
- Color of skin: 4.1%
- Religious affiliation: 3.7%
- Equal Pay Act: 1.4%
- Genetic information: 0.3%
When and how to file a workplace discrimination claim
You must file your complaint within 180 days of when the event occurred. If the incident is also punishable by law enforcement, that deadline increases by 300 days, but play it safe and file as soon as possible. The sooner action can be placed against the harasser, and investigation can begin, the greater the chance you have to win the claim.
To officially fine the claim, contact the EEOC. You can file a grievance in person, by mail or online.
If you would like to pursue legal action, experienced employment law attorneys can provide confidential consultations to see if your claim is viable.