Employees are protected from discrimination in their workplaces. To ensure rules prohibiting discrimination in the workplace are followed, it is important for employees to be familiar with employee rights and the protections safeguarding them.
Practices and policies prohibited to prevent employer discrimination
There are certain categories of protected employees that cannot be discriminated against including discrimination based on the employee’s race; color; religion; sex, which includes gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy; national origin; age, if the employee is over the age of 40; disability or genetic information. There are different ways that they are protected based on prohibited activity employers cannot engage in including:
- Job assignments and promotions – employers may not make job assignment or promotion decisions based on a discriminatory reason. These protections also include that an employer may not cut an employee’s hours for a discriminatory purpose.
- Pay and benefits – employers may not base pay and benefits decisions on discriminatory reasons. This protection applies to benefits such as sick and vacation leave, insurance, overtime and overtime pay and retirement programs.
- Discipline and discharge – employers may not base discipline and firing decisions on discriminatory reasons. For example, employees who commit similar offenses at work should be disciplined similarly. These protections also apply to layoff decisions make by the employer.
These protections apply to employees but also apply to job applicants when employers post job advertisements and in the application and hiring process. Most workers rely on their jobs to support them and their families which is why employment laws are available to protect them and keep them free from workplace discrimination.