Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination occurs when someone experiences discrimination by coworkers or an employer based on their race, sex, gender, orientation, religion, or where they are from. There are both Federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace. 

One of the laws that protects worders from discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII originally only protected against discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and place of birth but over the years the Supreme Court has expanded those protections to include things like gender identity and sexual orientation. There are also laws that protect against age discrimination and pregnancy discrimination.

Further Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Some of the many types of discrimination that are not allowed by law are:

  • ADA Discrimination – discrimination based on a having a disability.
  • Age Discrimination – discrimination against workers over 40.
  • FMLA Discrimination – discrimination based on the need for time off to care for sick children or parents.
  • Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discriminationdiscrimination based on LGBTQIA status 
  • National Origin Discrimination – discrimination against immigrants, regardless of their legal status. 
  • Pregnancy Discrimination – discrimination against pregnant people or a refusal to make reasonable accommodations. 
  • Racial Discrimination – discrimination based solely on race. 
  • Religious Discrimination – discrimination against someone because of their religion.
  • Retaliation – Allowing or encouraging bullying or harassment of any employee for following the law. 
  • Sexual harassment – The Supreme Court has ruled that sexual harassment is a type of discrimination based on sex and so is considered illegal.

Next Steps to Take

You may be entitled to thousands of dollars’ worth of damages if your employer has discrimination you because of your disability or age. Whether you work for a small or large company, if you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, you should seek the counsel of an employment law attorney. Some employment law attorneys may work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they are only paid if you win your claim.

Here is some more information about on different types of examples of disability and age discrimination in the workplace:

ADA Discrimination

The American Disability Act addresses discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, state and local government, public accommodations and telecommunications. Disabilities under the ADA encompasses both physical and intellectual disorders. However, an impairment does not have to appear as debilitating or lifelong illness to be deemed a disability under the American Disability Act. Learn more here.

Age Discrimination

If you are 40 years of age or older and you have experienced unlawful age discrimination you may be entitled to compensation. The Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal statute that prohibits people 40 years of age or older from discrimination against age at work. It can be tough to say if the employer's acts are influenced by age discrimination or by a sincere conviction that another worker would do a certain job better. Read more to learn about age discrimination and how you are covered by the law.

FMLA Discrimination

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal statute intended to encourage employees to leave their jobs to attend to their own urgent health problems or those of immediate family members (child, partner or parent), maternity complications, the birth or adoption of a child or the placement of a foster child at home.

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Gender identity and sexual orientation (SOGI) discrimination in the workplace means treating others unfavorably because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, whether they apply for a position or are a current employee. SOGI discrimination can be experienced by any because the of the gender they identity as, if they are transgender or non-binary as well as for any members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination occurs when an employee experiences discrimination at work for the country they were born in, accent, ethnicity, part of the world they were born, or even who they associate with from certain national origins. If this has happened to you, you have experienced an illegal behavior. 

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination, also known as maternal discrimination, at work refers to the illegal mistreatment of people due to their pregnancy status. It can occur while you are pregnant at work, on maternity leave or even when you return to work. Pregnancy and maternal discrimination is illegal. 

Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination refers to the situation of treating people unfairly due to their race or ethnicity. Federal and state law bans race discrimination in the workplace and there are many types of racial discrimination that can be difficult to recognize, particularly in the workplace. 

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination occurs when someone experiences unwanted or unfair treatment at work due to their religion. It can include comments about your religion, unfair wages, lack of religious accommodations, calling you slurs, missed promotions, and more all due to your religion. Federal and state laws make these actions illegal.


Retaliation happens when an employer responds to an employee stands up for themselves or speaks out against management by punishing them. While retaliation is almost always illegal, there are some instances in which it is not. 

General Workplace Discrimination:

Get Employment Law Help

If you believe you have a valid employment law case, you may not know how to proceed with filing a claim or lawsuit. Luckily, this isn’t a process you have to navigate on your own.

Consider seeking employment law help from an attorney. Reasons to get employment law advice from a legal expert who handles cases like yours include the following:

  • Employment law is complex. Along with federal laws, various state laws may establish employee rights while also governing what employers can and can’t do. If you’re thinking about taking legal action against an employer, it’s wise to get employment law advice from a professional familiar likely with the relevant statutes.
  • You may not know whether your case against an employer is valid. By seeking employment law help from an attorney, you can review your case with a lawyer who can explain whether it has merit.
  • Building a case against an employer may prove challenging. To win your case, you will likely have to gather substantial evidence indicating an employer broke the law. An attorney can assist you with this task. They may have the resources and experience necessary to conduct a thorough investigation.

You’re also not taking any financial risk by seeking employment law advice from an attorney. Complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get in touch with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.