What is Discrimination in the Workplace?

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. Discrimination can occur when one gender, race, color, or age group is treated differently than another when it regards to promotions or working conditions. Similarly, discrimination in the workplace can occur when an employer treats an individual with a disability differently than others. Indeed, an employer is required to make reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities which include ensuring work spaces are accessible to employees with disabilities, rearranging work schedules, and job restructuring. When unsure what to do, seeking advice from an Indianapolis Discrimination Attorney is always a good idea.

What Can You Do About Workplace Discrimination?

When a person believes they have been discriminated against they can file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. In general, a person needs to file a Charge of Discrimination within 180 calendar days from the day the discrimination took place. In addition, in order to file a Charge of Discrimination, the person’s employer must have had 15 or more employees (20 or more employees for age discrimination). After a Charge of Discrimination is filed, the EEOC investigates the claim. At the conclusion of the investigation, the EEOC informs the individual of their findings. If the EEOC does not find a violation of the law, it will issue a Notice-of-Right-to-Sue which provides permission to the individual to file a lawsuit. If the EEOC finds a violation, it will try to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer and if one cannot be reached, the case will be referred to the EEOC legal staff who will decide whether or not the agency should file a lawsuit. If the EEOC decides not to file a lawsuit, it will issue a Notice-of-Right-to-Sue.

Applicable Laws Regarding Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
This law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
This law amended Title VII to make it illegal to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
This law makes it illegal to pay different wages to men and women if they perform equal work in the same workplace. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
This law protects people who are 40 or older from discrimination because of age. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the private sector and in state and local governments. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991
Among other things, this law amends Title VII and the ADA to permit jury trials and compensatory and punitive damage awards in intentional discrimination cases.

Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the federal government. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)
This law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about any disease, disorder or condition of an individual’s family members (i.e. an individual’s family medical history). The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

If you need some advice, contact a discrimination attorney – the Indiana Discrimination Attorneys of Goodin Abernathy.


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