Discrimination in the Workplace: The Law Is On Your Side

Marc McCulloch

Throughout the history of the United States, our government has passed numerous laws to help prevent, and protect individuals from, discrimination and its damaging effects. Not only can discrimination have a negative impact on one’s employment, but it can also affect an individual’s business and housing situation, as well as his or her access to medical services, education, and other public services. But as much as our nation has attempted to protect the human rights of its citizens through these acts of law, they still fail the many Californians who face discrimination every single day.

What Is Discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when an individual is treated differently based on a set of federally protected characteristics. In the workplace, it often involves an employee not being paid an equal wage, being given menial tasks instead of meaningful ones, or not having the same opportunity for career growth and promotion.

There are nine common types of discrimination in the workplace which may affect you:

  • Age: Also known as ageism, this often affects older individuals (i.e., an older individual being forced to retire early with an attractive benefits package so that he or she could be replaced by a younger, lower salary employee).
  • Gender: Also known as sexism, gender discrimination takes place when an individual is treated differently or unfairly due to his or her gender.
  • Religious: This type of discrimination is the unfair treatment of an individual due to his or her religious beliefs or practices (this also includes forcing an individual to or not to participate in any religious activities).
  • Race and National Origin: This occurs when an individual is being treated unfairly due to his or her characteristics of his or her birthplace or race (this includes physical, cultural, lingual, or cultural).
  • Marital Status: Discrimination of this type may hinder someone in the workplace based on whether they are married, single, or other.
  • Pregnancy: When someone is discriminated against based on pregnancy, she may have been fired because she is pregnant, or because of any childbirth or childbirth-related medical conditions.
  • Mental or Physical Disability: This includes discriminating against someone because they have a physical, mental, and/or learning disability, or chronic illness.
  • Sexual Orientation: Sexual discrimination takes place when a person is treated unfairly due to his or her sexual orientation (there is no federal law against this, but many states and municipalities prohibit it, including California – see California Government Code § 12940(a)).
  • Reverse Discrimination: This type of discrimination occurs when members of a majority group are neglected or mistreated to promote someone who is part of a minority.

How Discrimination in the Workplace can Affect You

Despite the United States having put legislation in place that is designed to discourage and prohibit these practices, discrimination is still a persistent problem across our nation. Discrimination against anybody in the workplace can have devastating consequences for the victims and their families. Depression, lower-income, and lack of job opportunities are just the beginning of how this systemic issue can have a negative impact on your life.

If you or a loved one are suffering from discrimination in the Los Angeles area, the Marcarian Law Firm is here for you. We offer a legal consultation to all of our clients to ensure that they receive the protection and compensation they deserve. Give us a call toll-free at 800-924-3784 to stand up and protect the rights of you and your family today.


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