We all complain to friends, family and co-workers about work sometimes. But what if there is more to your situation than a bad day at work? When does a bad experience at the office cross over into discrimination?
Protected Classes of Employees
Employers are supposed to only focus on qualifications when making hiring and job decisions. They cannot discriminate against people based on their gender, age, race, sexual orientation, or disability, etc.
You may have a discrimination case if you are being passed over for a promotion, didn*t get a job or aren*t being compensated fairly for reasons other than your job qualifications.
One of the common misconceptions about discrimination is that anything that doesn't go your way in the workplace could be a form of discrimination. For example, you may feel your boss is too hard on you and spends more time critiquing your work than that of other employees. This, in itself, is not enough to constitute discrimination. Simply being passed over for a promotion isn't enough, either. If your employer selected an equally qualified employee for the role, you likely won*t have grounds for a case.
Defend Your Rights
Discrimination can be difficult to prove, but it is important for employees to defend their rights in the workplace. If you feel like you have been mistreated for reasons that may be discriminatory, you should explore your legal options.
Additional resources provided by the author
In California, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (or "DFEH") enforces state laws regarding discrimination in employment. A link to the relevant part of their website is provided below.
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