Frequently Asked Question about Workplace Discrimination.
By: Jeremy Schatz, Managing Attorney, Virtus Law Group, Birmingham Alabama.
Is it discrimination when….
I was disciplined for doing something that another employee did without any consequences?
This question is a common example of potential discrimination. If the other employee is similarly situated, meaning the other employee did the same or similar conduct and has the same or similar job duties, and is outside your protected class (i.e., different race or gender, etc) then a difference in the discipline may be considered discrimination.
When my employer hired a family member for a job that I applied for?
On the surface, this is typically not considered discriminatory. Contrary to many employees’ beliefs, nepotism is not typically illegal. However, there may be a certain situation that may change the legality of nepotism.
When I’m paid less than another employee?
The question is dependent on what is meant by “another employee.” If it is someone who has the same or a similar number of qualifications, experience, seniority, etc. and is outside your protected class, then it would be considered discrimination. However, if any one of the previous factors is not true then showing discrimination would be difficult.
When my boss yells at me constantly?
This is often not going to be considered discriminatory. Courts regularly say they are not Human Resource departments and will not deal with common workplace issues. With that being said, should the constant yelling be only directed at a certain class of people, and it makes it difficult for those individuals to do their jobs, then it could be considered discriminatory.
When my employer changes my schedule?
While on its face this does not seem discriminatory, should you be changed to a schedule that your employer knows you can’t fulfill due to family, health issues, etc, then it may be considered discrimination depending on the reason for the schedule change. For instance, if have you reported another incident of discrimination before the schedule change or recently been diagnosed with a health issue then the timing of the change may show discriminatory intent.
When I’m fired after letting my employer know about a health condition?
Should you be able to do your essential job function (the task that is at the core of your job) with or without reasonable accommodation and you are terminated, it most likely would be considered discriminatory under the American’s With Disability Act.