4 Common Types of Employment Discrimination Law Mistakes

There were 132.15 million full-time employees in the United States in 2020. With so many employees, it’s important to understand employment discrimination law.

Employment discrimination is illegal. If you’re a business owner or an HR representative, you need to know all the terms in the law. Even if someone embraces these rights, it can be hard to speak up.

Read below to know common types of discrimination mistakes. These may hamper someone from speaking up about a problem. Also, when you witness employment discrimination, it can be easy to turn a blind eye.

1. The Unintentional Discrimination

Unintentional discrimination is an act of discrimination that is done without any prior knowledge or intent. It is often the result of a misunderstanding, a lack of knowledge, or prejudice from senior-level staff.

Unintentional discrimination can take place with respect to gender, race, cultural or religious background, or even body size or appearance. It can imply hostile work environments, unequal opportunities, or even the exclusion of workers from meaningful participation. 

2. Bias in the Hiring Process

The hiring process is often biased when hiring practices are not in line with employment law. Employers may illegally discriminate in job ads and interviews by asking questions about a potential employee’s race, age, national origin, gender, pregnancy status, or sexual orientation.

Using an applicant’s prior salary, arrest history, medical condition, military service, or membership in certain organizations is illegal as part of an employment decision.

Employers should also not ask applicants to specify their salary requirements, as this could result in individuals with certain backgrounds earning less than their peers. 

3. Unequal Pay Practices

Unequal pay practices have been around since the industrialization of the workforce and remain an issue today. This type of behavior denies workers their basic human rights, the right to equal pay for equal work.

Unequal pay reflects systemic discrimination and devaluation of these workers’ labor and capabilities. This unfairness in compensation affects how widely available and livable a job is to an entire population segment and reinforces economic inequalities.

4. Unlawful Termination

Unlawful termination is contrary to workplace discrimination law. It occurs when an employer terminates an employee due to their age, race, gender, nationality, religion, or for any other reason deemed unlawful by the law.

It is considered harassment and discrimination and carries both civil and criminal penalties if the employer is guilty. Employers should ensure they understand their legal obligations when setting workplace rules and policies and should contact an employment law firm if they are unsure.

Find Out More About Employment Discrimination Law

Employment discrimination law mistakes can be costly financially and in terms of employee morale, employee relations, and employer reputation. To avoid mistakes, employers should ensure that their policies and practices surrounding discrimination laws are updated, informed, and thoroughly enforced.

To learn more, check out our series on common employment discrimination law mistakes and our associated resources to help protect your business.

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