The 10 Most Common Ways Employers Discriminate (And 35 Others)

Know Your Rights

“Getting fired” is the most common answer I get when I ask people, “What kinds of things on the job might make you think you were the victim of discrimination or retaliation?”

And termination is still the #1 triggering event that leads employees to come forward with legitimate claims of wrongful conduct by their employer.  But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC – the federal agency where our firm first files papers on behalf of an employee – has actually identified about 45 different areas where employers engage in illegal discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

The top ten actions taken by employers for 2019 were as follows:

  • Job assignment (such as unpleasant tasks, undesirable shifts, or transfer to distant or dangerous areas)
  • Discipline (bogus writeups, counselings and suspensions)
  • Firing/Constructive Discharge (both classic termination and creating conditions so bad that you quit)
  • Demotion (including traditional drop-downs, but also including same-title-lower-pay and stripping of duties without taking pay or title)
  • Hiring (failure to hire)
  • Job Harassment (constant harassment, nitpicking, micromanaging)
  • Intimidation/retaliation (referring to payback by an employer, in any form, because an employee spoke up about mistreatment)
  • Promotion (failing to promote the best candidate, or using suspicious or phony criteria to avoid hiring someone)
  • Sexual Harassment (including physical conduct, and jokes or advances of a sexual nature)
  • Terms & Conditions (such as burdening only certain employees with super-heavy workloads

What are the other 35 actions or areas that led employees in 2019 to come forward with complaints of unfair treatment?  Here’s the remainder of the list:

  • Advertising (to exclude applicants based on race, gender or other protected classes)
  • Apprenticeship (including failing to give certain employees opportunities to train)
  • Benefits (including all kinds of job-related benefits, such as health or dental)
  • Benefits-Insurance
  • Benefits-Retirement/Pension
  • Breach of Confidentiality (failing to keep complaints or personal information confidential)
  • Early Retirement Incentive (forcing certain people out because of their age, race, gender or other protected class)
  • English Language Only Rule
  • Exclusion (such as excluding certain people from meetings, tasks, and favorable training or travel)
  • Filing EEO Forms (harassing employees who try to make a complaint)
  • Job Classification (such as misclassifying a job so it pays lower because certain people are in the position)
  • Layoff (such as choosing only people of a certain type for separation, or only people who have complained of harassment)
  • Maternity (applies to applicants who are pregnant, women about to take leave, women on leave and women just returning)
  • Other Language/Accent Issue (including refusing hiring to hire people with accents, or over-burdening bilingual employees)
  • Paternity (including harassment male employees who help as family caregivers)
  • Posting Notices  (including failing to properly post notices about your rights under anti-discrimination laws)
  • Prohibited Medical Inquiry/Exam (asking for inappropriate or excessive information)
  • Qualifications (hiring less-qualified people to avoid hiring certain persons, or creating bogus “required” qualifications)
  • Reasonable Accommodation (failing to accommodate disabled employees)
  • Recall
  • Recordkeeping Violation
  • References Unfavorable (giving bad or retaliatory job references)
  • Reinstatement (refusing to properly rehire employees because of their race, age, gender, disability or other classes)
  • Retirement-Involuntary  (wrongly forcing employees out)
  • Segregated Facilities
  • Segregated Locals
  • Seniority
  • Severance Pay Denied (denying certain employees legitimate severance pay)
  • Suspension
  • Tenure (wrongly denying permanent status to people because of their protected classes)
  • Testing
  • Training
  • Union Representation
  • Wages  (failing to pay employees for all time worked, and failing to pay overtime)
  • Waivers (wrongly demanding that employees give up their legal rights)

Consider contacting a lawyer who’s an expert in employee rights if you’ve suffered one of these actions, if you think it might be because of your race, gender, age, disability or a similar characteristic, or perhaps because of a complaint you made about discrimination or other wrongdoing.  As always, be sure to ask the lawyer if he or she is an expert in this field, how many cases they’ve handled, whether they represent also employers, and whether they handle other claims, like personal injury, or real estate.  There are many fine lawyers who represent employers, but we don’t recommend hiring a lawyer whose practice isn’t limited to employees only.  And remember that some lawyers split their day among many types of cases.  Look for one whose skills and experience are limited to employee rights only.


Categories: Accommodations, Bad/Retaliatory Job References, Bilingualism, Complaints & Documentation, Disability Accommodations, Equal Pay Act, Job Searches & Interviews, Multilingualism, Sexual Harassment

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2 replies

  1. Are you licensed in Georgia ?

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