Category: Protecting

Identifying Discrimination in the Workplace


Across America, unsuspecting employees are being discriminated against by their employers. At times, the employer’s discriminatory acts or policies are unintentional. Other times, however, employers are purposefully discriminating against their employees for their own benefit. Whether or not the discrimination is intentional is unimportant because workplace discrimination is illegal and should be rebuffed. This legal guide is designed to help employees identify workplace discrimination and protect their rights.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Many of the protections afforded to employees come directly from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act makes it illegal for an employer, with at least 15 employees, to discriminate against an employee on the basis of color, gender, national origin, race, or religion. Discrimination based on these categories includes failing to hire, termination or demotion, or taking any other action that negatively affects the terms and conditions of employment.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to an employers who employ 15 or more employees. This act protects employees from being discriminated against based on their actual or perceived disability. In order to be protected under this Act, an employee must be a qualified individual with a disability, meaning she is able to perform her job duties with or without an accommodation. Discrimination under this act may manifest itself as failure to hire, termination or demotion, or failure to accommodate a reasonable request for an accommodation.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Under this Act, employers with 20 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against persons based on their age. In order to be protected under this Act, an employee must be at least 40 years old and have been discriminated against because of his or her age. Many times, this occurs by being replaced by a younger employee. However, that is not the only method of discrimination under this Act.


This guide was intended to help employees identify employment discrimination in the workplace. However, navigating the various employment laws can be very difficult to do on your own. If you feel that you have been a victim of employment discrimination, contact an employment attorney to help you through the process.


You just got the interview and you are preparing for the questions that your future employer may ask.  It’s a great idea to be prepared, but you should know that there are questions that employers are not allowed to ask during an interview.
  1. Do you have a disability?
  2. How old are you?
  3. Are you pregnant?
  4. What race are you?
  5. Do you suffer from any diseases?
  6. When were you born?
  7. Are you married?
  8. Were you born in the United States?
  9. What kind of accent is that?
  10. Which religious holidays do you observe?
Sometimes employers ask the above questions, or some variation of them, in order to gain information about a prospective employee’s membership in one or more protected class. These questions are illegal because hiring decisions should be made based on a prospective employee’s ability to perform the job duties, not on physical characteristics.

Give Me a Break!

I am often asked if employers are required to give their employees breaks during the day. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no.
Employers are not required to give their employees breaks during the day, not even a lunch break. It seems logical that employers would be required to provide breaks but, at this time, the law does not force employers to do so.
But like every rule, there are some exceptions. First, employers are required to give nursing mothers breaks to expel milk. In fact, they are even required to provide nursing mothers with a clean, private room to use. Second, employers are required to allow disabled employees to take breaks at work if the break helps with the employee’s disability.

The Pregnant Professional

You just found out you are pregnant and are looking forward to the joys of motherhood. However, you are concerned about how your employer will take the news and whether or not they will reduce your hours or terminate you all together. If this is your situation, do not fear, both federal and state law protect pregnant employees.
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against pregnant employees or applicants. Discrimination occurs when an employer reduces a pregnant employee’s hours or takes away her job duties because she is pregnant. It is illegal for an employer to make assumptions about a pregnant employee’s limitations on the job. That means that employer cannot assume that an employee will be unable to perform her duties simply because she is pregnant.
What to do if you need medical accommodations?
Accommodations come in all shapes and sizes, from being allowed to sit down during a shit to reduced work hours. Employers are required to provide all accommodations unless they cause an undue hardship to the company. And if an employer allows non-pregnant employees to work “light duty’” positions, then it must allow pregnant women to do the same.
The Takeaway
Employers cannot take adverse actions against pregnant employees because of their pregnancy. If you feel that you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, contact Lee Law for a free consultation.