Workplace discrimination is unlawful under both state and federal regulations. This includes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, color, national origin, sex, disability and genetic information.
Many people do not realize that it does not always have to take the form of a single action or offensive phrase. An individual does not have to be the intended target to suffer from it either.
A hostile environment is discrimination
If an individual or group of individuals exhibit frequent behavior that results in a hostile environment, this counts as workplace discrimination. This may include making repetitive discriminatory jokes or comments or other actions based on prejudice that make employees uncomfortable. Even workers who are simply bystanders may suffer because of the development of a toxic environment and therefore become victims as well.
Workers have options
Victims of workplace discrimination can first approach a supervisor or their company’s human resources department if the supervisor refuses to or is unable to help resolve the issue. If this proves unhelpful, they can file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which handle affairs on a state and a federal level respectively. Both have a deadline of 180 days after the incidence of discrimination in which an individual may file a complaint, though the EEOC allows for an extension to 300 days in certain cases. Victims also have the option of filing a lawsuit.
Workplace discrimination can have a serious negative impact on workers and the performance of a company as a whole. When it becomes constant enough to create a hostile environment, anyone who suffers discomfort because of it is also a victim of discrimination.