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Safeguarding Your Rights In The Workplace

Terrence Bouvier Robinson

Houston Legal Blog

Is the wage gap between genders and races discriminatory?

There are many considerations that come into the picture when an employer is deciding what a worker will earn. While this is understandable in terms of experience, time with the company and job duties, there are some factors that should never be part of the process.

Unfortunately, there are still some employees who make less than others based on factors that don't have anything to do with their job performance, training or education. Factors like race and gender must never be considered when they are trying to set a person's salary.

Texas and federal laws address discrimination in the workplace

Workplace discrimination is illegal in Texas. The Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission work to ensure that employees in this state can do their jobs without harassment or discrimination based on any protected status.

There are specific facts that workers must consider if they believe they've been discriminated against.

Steps to stop workplace discrimination

The realization that you've been a victim of discrimination may not come all at once. At first, the events might be so subtle that you could think you were imagining things. As time progresses and additional exchanges take place, you will slowly see what's really going on.

Discrimination can come from another employee, a supervisor, an executive, an owner, a vendor, a client or a customer. All forms of discrimination are against the law and must not be allowed in the workplace. Here are some points to remember about workplace discrimination of all sorts:

Sex discrimination remains a problem in the workplace

Even though the world has come a long way in regard to equal rights among men and women, sex discrimination still exists in workplaces throughout the country. While you hope to never run into this, if you do, it's important to know which steps to take.

As the name suggests, sex discrimination is nothing more than treating someone, including both employees and applicants, unfavorably because of their sex.

Age discrimination doesn't have a place in the workforce

Age shouldn't be a factor in most job situations. It is true that some jobs, including those that involve serving alcohol, can't be given to people who are too young. Besides instances in which the law requires a person to be within a specific age group, there isn't any good reason for employers to think of age when they hire employees.

There are some instances in which age discrimination runs afoul of the law. These are very specific and are covered under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Here are some points to remember about this employment issue:

You shouldn't face work discrimination because of your disability

There are many different disabilities that people in the United States struggle with. Sometimes, a disability is the result of a genetic condition, an injury during birth, or an injury or illness earlier in life. Other times, people can become suddenly injured as adults. Degenerative conditions, like multiple sclerosis, or even mental health conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder, can be a source of disability for workers.

However, just because you have a medical diagnosis does not mean that you can't work. Many people with serious medical conditions or disabilities have fulfilling and successful careers. A key component to this, however, is your employer's willingness to accommodate your needs. Sadly, quite a few people with disabilities face discrimination at their place of employment.

Know some common terms related to discrimination claims

Employees who are discriminated against at work might opt to make a complaint to their Human Resources (HR) department about the matter. They can file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well.

When you file this complaint, there are some terms that you might encounter and with which you should familiarize yourself.

Discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable

No employees should be discriminated at work for any reason. Not only does this make the time at work unpleasant, it can also lead to legal troubles for the employer. There are no good reasons for people to have to deal with this type of behavior.

The effects of being subjected to discrimination vary greatly. It is imperative that anyone who is being discriminated against have an idea about what might come from the situation. This can help you to realize that what you are going through is perfectly normal. Here are some impacts that you might experience:

Family and Medical Leave Act: What employees must know

When you become ill or have to care for someone in your family who is sick, you might have to take off of work. Other medical and family situations, such as the birth of a baby or the adoption of a child, might also necessitate time off of work. In all of these cases, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) might be a viable option.

There are many misconceptions about the FMLA. If you think that you will need coverage, make sure that you fully understand when coverage applies in your circumstances.

Gender discrimination remains all too common in the workplace

Your ability to do your job has nothing to do with your gender. Men and women can perform the same jobs, receive the same schooling and achieve the same success in any career. However, some industries remain primarily male-dominated, and some employers continue to discriminate against employees and potential employees on the basis of their sex. That kind of discrimination is illegal, but the law can't prevent people from acting on their biases.

Sex-based discrimination is the practice of treating someone differently in a job because of one's gender. Some employers may actively discriminate against applicants or employees of a particular gender, while others may simply create a hostile work environment by fostering the wrong kind of culture. If you believe your workplace engages in sex-based discrimination, you should take steps to further educate yourself about your rights.

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