Discrimination in the Workplace: Know Your Rights

Dealing with a difficult boss can be challenging for any employee, but if you're being discriminated against in the workplace, it might be time to take legal action.

As an employee, you deserve to feel safe and secure while you're at work. Regardless of whether you're a waiter, a technical support agent, childcare provider, or a doctor, it's important that you receive proper treatment at your place of employment. There are a number of laws in place to ensure you receive proper treatment while at your job. If you feel you have been discriminated against or been treated poorly due to your age, gender, or pregnancy, for example, there are a few things you need to know about laws and your rights as an employee. You do not need to fear for your job or your safety. There are legal processes in place to protect you. Here's what you need to know.

Age Discrimination

In the United States, there are age discrimination laws in place to protect adults between the ages of 40 and 65. If you are employed and your supervisor has threatened to replace you with a younger employee or has made fun of you for your age, it's important that you understand you are protected by law. You do not need to tolerate age discrimination in the workplace, nor should you. Your employer is not legally allowed to fire you because of your age, nor can they make snide remarks or jokes about your age.

Sexual Harassment

One of the most common forms of harassment and discrimination occurs when unwanted sexual advances or comments are made to another employee. Sexual harassment can take many forms, including inappropriate touching, rude comments, or attempted blackmail. Sexual harassment may affect both men and women and is not limited by sexual orientation. Sexual harassment is not permitted. Remember: you have the right to be safe at work. Your employer and coworkers may not harass you sexually, so if this occurs, it's important to seek help right away.

Pregnancy

If you are pregnant while employed, the The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is designed to ensure you receive proper treatment while pregnant. For example, if you are unable to continue to perform your duties due to your pregnancy, your employer may be required to provide you with alternate tasks or options for retaining your job while on leave. Essentially, your supervisor must provide you with the same treatment and benefits that are offered to temporarily disabled workers at your office. The terms of this may vary. If your boss threatens to fire you or harasses you for your pregnancy, make sure you reach out to an attorney so you can better understand your rights.

Always consult with an attorney when you experience employment discrimination. Your lawyer understands the specific laws that protect you and can help you file harassment or discrimination charges, as well as help you receive any compensation you may be entitled to as a result of your emotional trauma.