Although it’s illegal for employers in Rhode Island to discriminate against their employees, instances still happen. It’s important to know how workplace discrimination occurs.
What is workplace discrimination?
Workplace discrimination refers to incidents at work that can be onetime or repetitive that target employees of specific protected characteristics. Discrimination can be done intentionally or unintentionally and can involve the employer and an employee or just employees. Whatever form the incident takes, workplace discrimination is against the law, is harmful and can have lasting effects on the victim and witnesses.
What are common types of workplace discrimination?
Certain types of discrimination are very common in the workplace. Racial discrimination unfairly targets employees because of their race or color. For example, if a manager deliberately omits Latino workers from certain work projects they are fully qualified for in favor of white employees who aren’t as skilled, it’s an obvious case of racially-motivated workplace discrimination.
Sex discrimination in the workplace occurs when women employees are unfairly treated. Under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women are entitled to the same pay and jobs as men. Employers also cannot specify gender preference in job ads.
Age discrimination affects workers 40 and older. Employers are prohibited from preventing older employees from getting raises or promotions and from barring those 40 and older a chance at employment.
It’s illegal for employers to discriminate against disabled workers. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals with disabilities and makes it unlawful for employers to refuse to hire them, pay them less than other employees or deny reasonable accommodation when it’s requested.
Employers cannot discriminate against pregnant people by firing them, denying them a job, refusing to give them a pay raise or promotion or withholding certain job duties they could reasonably perform.
If you have faced workplace discrimination, you have a right to complain to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).