Defining Discrimination and How to Prevent It In the Workplace

Employees who have recently become the victim of discrimination in the workplace can rely on an attorney at to lend a compassionate ear and respond with immediate legal intervention. As an employment lawyer in El Paso, TX, from a firm like Davie & Valdez, P.C. can explain, unfortunately, in today’s society some people don’t understand what it means to be discriminatory, or if they do, they play it off as if it was a joke. But we know discrimination isn’t a laughing matter, and the right lawyer can help victims take action for the unfair treatment that violated their rights. 

First and foremost, it’s important to have a full understanding of what it means to suffer discrimination. In fact, many people in the workforce may encounter discrimination daily but don’t realize it’s happening. 

What is Discrimination By Definition?

As your attorney is likely to go over with you, discrimination is when a person is treated less favorably than others beacuse of their personal characteristics. These characteristics are referred to as “protected attributes”, and can include race, religious beliefs, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, gender, gender identity, impairments/disabilities, union membership, or political beliefs. 

Is Discrimination Direct or Indirect?

Employee discrimination can be both direct and indirect. For direct discrimination, a person is treated differently in negative way compared to others who don’t have that attribute. Indirect discrimination is when a person enforcecs requirements of another with certain characteristics in which they cannot comply with the demand. For instance, if a boss knows a worker has family responsibilities but forces them to work weekends (when they know the request cannot be fulfilled), this may qualify as indirect discrimination. 

How Can Federal Work Environments Combat Discrimination?

Combating discrimination in the workplace begins with the employer. A company must educate their workers about discrimination, so they know when it has happened to them or someone else. However, it is still the responsibility of the employer after providing education to monitor and enforce reprimands for employees who commit discrimination. Employers must take these steps to combat unlawful and unfair treatment: 

  • Promote a space where workers respect what makes each other different
  • Promptly respond to complaints about behavior that is inappropriate
  • Handle reports of discrimination within a timely manner and confidentially
  • Train managers/supervisors to be able to identify and respond to workplace discrimination 
  • Create and ensure a workplace policy against discriminatory behavior and statements

If you feel as though you have been discriminated against in a work environment but your employer hasn’t done anything about it, then reach out to an attorney for assistance.
The challenge that most workers face is that they worry about how their coworkers and managers will respond if they come forward with complaints about discrimination. If you are nervous to report an incident, trust that the right attorney can guide and support you along the way. Contact a lawyer today, even if you are unsure of what to do next.