What Are the Different Types of Workplace Discrimination?

Some people are only aware of a few types of workplace discrimination. Most people are aware of sexism and ageism as forms of discrimination in the workplace, but there are many other types. Discrimination in the workplace can manifest in many ways, some of which may not be immediately apparent. Both employers and employees need to be aware of these protected classes. This is so they can take measures to prevent discrimination against them in the workplace.

What Is Workplace Discrimination? 

Workplace discrimination refers to unfair treatment of an employee or job applicant based on their membership in a protected class. Protected classes may include race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or pregnancy status, among others.

Discrimination in the workplace look differently, such as:

  • When an employer refuses to hire a qualified candidate because of their membership in a protected class.
  • When an employer denies an employee a promotion because the employee is in a protected class.
  • When an employer pays an employee less than other similarly situated employees based on their membership in a protected class.
  • When an employee is subjected to unwelcome behavior or comments because of their membership in a protected class.

Simple Types of Discrimination

Have you noticed your boss is treating you differently? Are you receiving less favorable assignments for work compared to your co-worker? You may be the victim of workplace discrimination. Here are some not-so-obvious signs of discrimination:

  • An individual may be excluded from opportunities, such as meetings or professional development programs, due to their membership in a protected class.
  • An employer may provide more resources, such as training or equipment, to certain employees or groups of employees over others based on their membership in a protected class.
  • Stereotyping can occur when an individual is presumed to have certain characteristics or abilities based on their membership in a protected class.
  • Employers may place unreasonable or disproportionate work demands on employees based on their membership in a protected class, which can create a hostile or discriminatory work environment.
  • Microaggressions are subtle or indirect forms of discrimination that are often unintentional but can still have a negative impact on an individual or group. 

It’s important for employers to be vigilant for these signs of discrimination and take steps to address any issues to create a fair and inclusive work environment.

Discrimination Against Protected Classes

Discrimination against protected classes refers to the unfair treatment of individuals based on their membership in a legally protected category. The protected classes can vary, but in the United States, they are defined by federal and state laws and may include:

  • Discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin.
  • Gender discrimination includes unfair treatment of individuals based on their sex or gender identity.
  • Age discrimination pertains to treating individuals less favorably due to their age, typically 40 years old or older.
  • Discrimination based on an individual’s physical or mental disability, or perceived disability.
  • Discrimination against pregnant women or those who have given birth.
  • Discrimination based on an individual’s religious beliefs or practices.
  • Sexual orientation discrimination is the unfair treatment of individuals based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Discrimination based on an individual’s military service or status as a veteran.

You can be discriminated against for one of these protected classes or several. If you believe you’re the victim of discrimination, reach out to a dedicated team of legal professionals to understand what steps you should take next.

Identifying the Different Types of Workplace Discrimination 

Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace is still very common. Knowing all of the signs to look out for can help you to make your workplace a safer and healthier place for people of all backgrounds to work. 

If you believe you’re the victim of workplace discrimination, contact our experienced legal team today for help!

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Amy Boyle

Amy Boyle

Amy is a Founding Partner of MSB Employment Justice. She brings a personalized approach to each of her cases and prides herself on giving her clients a candid assessment of their case. While Amy handles all types of employment matters, she has a particular focus on representing women who have experienced sex discrimination, sexual harassment and assault, and retaliation at work and whistleblower clients who have reported illegal workplace practices or companies engaged in deceitful conduct. See Full Bio

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