Understanding Workplace Discrimination

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Understanding Workplace Discrimination Everyone agrees that workplace discrimination has no place in the modern business world. But not everyone understands the laws that protect employees against discrimination. This definition raises an important point: Unfair treatment does not necessarily equal unlawful discrimination. Treating a person differently from others violates Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws only when the treatment is based on the presence of a protected characteristic, rather than on job performance or even on something as arbitrary as an employee's personality. Keep in mind, however, that discrimination claims can be highly subjective. To avoid discrimination, you do not have to extend preferential treatment to any employee. The law requires only that you extend the same employment opportunities and enforce the same policies for each employee. Legal Remedies EEO law stipulates that an employee who experiences discrimination can seek remedies including: Back pay Restoration of their old job (if they were fired or reassigned) A court order to stop the discrimination Compensation for pain and suffering Also, employers found guilty of workplace discrimination can face up to $300,000 in punitive damages. In addition, if your company has not offered equal employment opportunities in the past, the law can require you to take special corrective measures. These may include "affirmative employment" initiatives that give members of persecuted groups special access to the same opportunities that other employees traditionally enjoyed. http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/workplace-health-safety-employment/1317-1.html Copyright © 1999 - 2008 AllBusiness.com, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this content or the data or information included therein may be reproduced, republished or redistributed without the prior written consent of AllBusiness.com. Use of this site is governed Overview of Major Federal Employment Discrimination Laws Various federal, state, and local laws prohibit discrimination against employees and job applicants in the terms and conditions of employment. In general, the laws make it unlawful to treat applicants or employees less favorably or differently because they are included in certain "protected categories." This means all employment decisions should be based on legitimate business-related criteria. Some of the major federal laws and the protected categories under those laws are: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. Age Discrimination in Employment Act: prohibits discrimination on the basis of age against any employee who is age 40 or older. The ADEA was amended by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, which prohibits discrimination in pension benefits and provides limitations and disclosure requirements in some circumstances where an employee or applicant is being asked to waive certain rights under the ADEA. Family and Medical Leave Act: requires eligible employees be granted unpaid time off from work on family or medical leave of up to 12 weeks per year without being subject to job discrimination or termination of employment for taking the leave. The right to take leave applies to time off for events such as the birth of a child (or placement for adoption or foster care), to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or for the employee's own serious health condition. Equal Pay Act: amends the Fair Labor Standards Act and prohibits paying different wages to men and women who perform equal work under substantially similar conditions. Americans with Disabilities Act: prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants with actual or perceived physical or mental disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable...
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