August 16, 2022

The Modern Face of Employee Discrimination

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It might sound a bit weird at first, but it makes sense when you think about it: there’s a fine line between setting reasonable safety guidelines in the workplace and setting restrictions that violate discrimination labor laws — and that fine line gets blurry pretty easily.

Pregnancy has been a tough one to figure out in recent years; on one hand, many jobs require physical endurance that could put a pregnant woman and her baby in danger, but on the other hand, it’s wrong to prohibit women from working (or even taking maternity leave after giving birth) because of pregnancy. It’s been illegal for employers to discriminate against pregnant women since federal legislation on the issue was passed in 1978, but sadly, it still occurs quite often. In 2013 alone, over 5,000 government agencies had trouble figuring out where that fine line existed, and they received pregnancy discrimination charges.

Elderly workers often face discrimination issues for similar reasons. Workplace safety issues are naturally expected to increase if the work at hand is physically demanding and if the employees aren’t physically fit, and for that reason, it’s often legal for employers to exercise subjective judgement about whether or not an employee is able to perform the job he/she was hired to do. That being said, labor laws require that every employee be given the same opportunity to participate in the employer’s health and financial benefit plans, regardless of age or health status, as every other employee is given.

Of course, there are plenty of other areas involving employee discrimination that employment lawyers have dealt with over the years, and despite the amount of time that employment discrimination has been around, the victimized groups tend to change over time as cultural ideologies change. While it’s unlikely that you’ll see something like “No Irish Need Apply” hanging in store windows, discrimination does exist in the workplace, and it certainly needs to be addressed. Research more here.

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