When a job is somewhere you go every day or at least several times a week, it helps if it is a nice place to work. Ideally, you get along with your co-workers, respect your boss and enjoy your duties. In many cases, these factors can even make up for less-than-generous pay. However, not every West Virginia worker is fortunate to have these qualities in a job. Too many employees still face unfavorable treatment based solely on discriminatory issues.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects your right to a workplace free from discrimination. Sadly, more than 50 years after the passage of this bill, many workers still face hostility, abuse and unfair treatment on the job simply because they belong to one of the classes of people the federal government protects. In fact, discrimination may come in many forms, and laws continue to expand to offer more and more protections for those who may be vulnerable to mistreatment.
What does discrimination look like?
Discrimination may include any unfair treatment you suffer on the job because of your race, gender, skin color, age, religion, disabilities and several other classes. Discrimination may begin long before the hiring process if an employer advertises or recruits workers in a way that excludes certain classes of people. An employer who offers certain workers less pay or fewer benefits based on discrimination is violating the law. Other common violations include the following:
- Terminating or marginalizing workers who are over 40 simply because of their age
- Refusing to hire or to make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities
- Paying a woman a lower salary than a man in the same position doing comparable work
- Firing, harassing or allowing the harassment of someone in the LGBTQ community
- Firing someone who validly takes family leave for pregnancy
- Refusing to allow for the customs or practices of an employee with religious beliefs
These are only a small number of the many examples of discrimination you may face in the workplace. The most common complaints the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives involve retaliation actions against an employee who complains about age discrimination, sex discrimination, racial discrimination and disability discrimination.
Any discriminatory actions you may suffer violate your rights and may interfere with your ability to perform your job. You may even suffer physical and emotional health issues resulting from the unfair treatment you receive. If you have the qualifications and the skills to do the job, these are the only factors that should determine how you are treated at work.