No federal employee should have to deal with discrimination in the workplace.
When workplace discrimination occurs at the hands of a supervisor, colleague, or contractor, federal employees can exercise their rights under the law and sue their employer. Yet many employees wonder, What does discrimination in the federal workplace look like?
Federal law recognizes two major kinds of discrimination claims: disparate treatment and harassment. In addition, there are a number of personal traits or characteristics that it’s illegal to discriminate against.
There are many examples of federal workplace discrimination. Sometimes federal employees experience shockingly overt and blatant discrimination. Other times, the discriminatory treatment is subtle.
In this article, we’ll review the major kinds of discrimination claims and protected traits.
However, if you think you are experiencing illegal harassment or discrimination in the workplace, you should contact a knowledgeable federal employment attorney right away.
Workplace Discrimination Examples
Discrimination commonly takes two forms: disparate treatment and harassment.
Disparate treatment is when an employee is treated worse than other employees because of a protected characteristic, such as their age, sex, race, or religion.
Examples of this kind of workplace discrimination can include any aspect of an employee’s federal employment:
- Not receiving a promotion because of your race,
- Facing termination because of your sexual orientation or religion,
- Receiving less pay for doing the same work because of your color or national origin, and
- Not getting the training you need because of your sexual identity.
The other kind of common workplace discrimination is harassment. Harassment is offensive or unwelcome conduct that you have to endure when working or that is so severe or widespread that it creates a hostile work environment.
Examples of this kind of discrimination in the workplace include:
- Regularly hearing slurs or offensive jokes related to your race or sex,
- Being called insulting names because of your sexual orientation, and
- Being physically assaulted or threatened because of your age or disability.
These are just a few examples. The truth is that discrimination can take many forms. Keep in mind, however, that petty problems or one mildly offensive joke may not rise to the level of harassment.
Characteristics That Are Protected From Illegal Discrimination
Several characteristics or “bases” are protected under federal law. To constitute illegal discrimination, an employee must experience disparate treatment or harassment because of one of these characteristics.
The characteristics include:
- National origin,
- Age (40 or over),
- Sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy),
- Disability (physical or mental), and
- Genetic information,
The law also prohibits your employer from retaliating against you for filing complaints or speaking up against discrimination.
Discrimination that isn’t based on one of these protected traits might be annoying or improper, but it’s probably not illegal.
For example, it isn’t illegal for your co-worker to dislike you because you support a different sports team or drink coffee instead of tea.
Want to Learn More About Discrimination in the Federal Workplace?
We know how damaging and upsetting it is to be the target of discrimination. We also know how isolated employees can feel when they’re experiencing discrimination.
If you’re experiencing workplace discrimination, remember that you have rights.
Here at the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, we specialize in defending federal employees from all forms of discrimination.
Our firm has many years of experience protecting employees, putting discriminatory federal employers in check, and ensuring our clients receive the compensation they deserve.
Together, we can work to ensure that you receive a fair and nondiscriminatory work environment. We can also aggressively fight to obtain just compensation for your losses.
Even if you aren’t sure whether you need an attorney or are facing discrimination, contact us today.
All initial consultations are free, so you have nothing to lose. Don’t wait. Give us a call today at (833) 833-3529.