What is Employment Discrimination?

Image of a boss with a piece of paper in his hand, pointing in the air with an angry expression while looking at an African American co-worker

Understanding Workplace Discrimination

To discriminate against someone means that person is being treated differently and less favorably than others. Some types of workplace discrimination are recognizable right away, and others may be subtle. Here’s what you need to know.

The Warning Signs of Discrimination in the Workplace

Employees are protected by laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against all forms of discrimination, including the following:

Unfair Treatment

Unfair treatment can range from alienation and not being given career opportunities to paying someone in an equal position significantly less. You are protected by law from being discriminated against due to the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • National origin
  • Disability
  • Age (40 or older)
  • Genetics

Discriminatory Harassment

Discriminatory harassment is hostile behaviors towards someone and can come in the form of sexual harassment and being harassed for the same reasons that are listed above under unfair treatment. Some examples of discriminatory harassment may include:

  • Racial epithets or offensive “jokes” and derogatory comments.
  • Ethnic slurs.
  • Offensive jokes or comments related to an individual’s age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Circulating offensive materials in the workplace, such as offensive pictures or cartoons.

Reasonable Workplace Accommodations

If you need special accommodations for your religious beliefs or a disability, it may be required to be provided for you. For example, if you have a disability, improved access to your work area, or reserved parking accommodations may be provided. If you need a private space for prayer or religious observances, your employer may be required to provide this space for you.

Asking for Disclosure of Medical Information

Your employer may not ask for personal medical or genetic information from you. You are protected from this improper questioning under the EEOC.


If you complained about discrimination, harassment, or are involved in a workplace discrimination lawsuit or investigation, you are protected against retaliation under the EEOC. Some forms of workplace retaliation may include:

  • Demotions
  • Denial of benefits
  • Hostile treatment
  • Firing
  • Making the employee’s work more difficult

Are You Experiencing Workplace Discrimination? We Can Help.

Discrimination is not just limited to the workplace — it can also occur in schools or public places such as grocery stores or hospitals. If you’ve been experiencing harassment, you have the right to pursue a claim against your harassers and hold them accountable for their actions.

At Grewal Law PLLC our attorneys are prepared to protect your rights. From discrimination to sexual harassment, when you need help during a difficult time, we are here to lend you the support you need and deserve.

Call Grewal Law PLLC at (888) 211-5798 to schedule a consultation.