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What counts as discriminatory treatment in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2023 | Employee Rights

When you go to work, you have the right to expect that you will receive fair treatment from your employer and others around you. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, and employees sometimes face frustrating and even illegal treatment in the workplace. One of the most common problems faced by many employees is discriminatory treatment. If you experienced this at your place of work, you do not have to remain silent. 

As a victim of workplace discrimination, you do not have to keep your experience to yourself. You may pursue justice and seek to hold your employer accountable, but it is first helpful to understand what types of treatment count as discriminatory and how you can protect your interests as someone who experienced this. Workplace discrimination is not only frustrating for victims, but it is also unacceptable and illegal. 

Types of discrimination you could face at work 

Discrimination is any type of behavior that treats someone differently or less favorably because of your membership in a protected group. Under federal law, the protected groups include race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), age (40 or older) and disability. Discrimination because of genetic information is also illegal. There can be additional protections at the state level.

There is a wide range of the types of discrimination someone could experience at work, and they include: 

  • Harassment from co-workers, customers, managers, employers or others on the basis of your beliefs, ethnicity or a variety of other factors 
  • Denying you a reasonable accommodation for your disability that you need in order to do your job 
  • Retaliating against you for reporting wrongdoing, taking rightful FMLA leave, filing a workers’ compensation claim and other instances where you exercised your legal rights
  • Asking improper questions about your medical history and other personal matters 
  • Unfair treatment because of the color of your skin, your gender or for other reasons 

Victims of discrimination often feel unsure of what they should do or intimidated by what they have experienced. You may believe that speaking out could result in your termination or continued mistreatment, and this may keep you from speaking out about the discrimination you are facing at work. 

What are your options?

One of the most beneficial things you can do as a victim of discrimination in West Virginia is to seek professional guidance regarding your legal options. Victims of discrimination may have grounds to seek compensation and damages through a civil claim. If you believe that you have a valid case, your quick action is critical. These cases are time-sensitive, and moving forward promptly could help you succeed in your efforts.