You can’t turn on the news or scroll through your newsfeed without reading about discrimination and racism. This two-part article focuses on combatting workplace discrimination, but first, we wanted to explain what exactly defines workplace discrimination.
Discrimination is when a person or group is treated less favorably due to their personal characteristics or circumstances.
Some discrimination is direct, for example, not hiring someone because of their skin color or religious beliefs.
Then there are types of discrimination that are indirect, such as imposing requirements that discriminate against certain groups. For example, you may have a policy that requires a specific dress code or hairstyle, but ultimately this could discriminate against certain groups.
Small business owners and employers have legal responsibilities under U.S. federal employment anti-discrimination laws. However, the laws companies are subject to depend on the size of their business.
- 1 or more employees – Employers must provide equal pay for equal work to both male and female employees.
- 15 or more employees – You must comply with the aforementioned equal pay rule based on gender and race, color, religion, sex, national origin, genetic information, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
- 20 or more employees – You must follow all the laws above, but you are also subject to not discriminating based on age. The age factor depends on each state, but with most states, it is 40 and over.
It’s also important to note that companies may have specific state and local employment discrimination laws they are required to follow.
Stay tuned for the second part of this article, where we’ll discuss workplace discrimination prevention techniques.
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