Top 5 Myths Surrounding Employment Discrimination

Employment Discrimination Lawyer

Employment discrimination is a significant issue that an employment discrimination lawyer has witnessed firsthand, and as a result of this type of discrimination, workplaces are affected across the globe. Workplace discrimination is the unfair treatment of employees and job applicants based on unrelated characteristics that do not impact their ability to perform their job duties. Examples include race, gender, age, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. Unfortunately, navigating employment discrimination can be complex, and, as Hoyer Law Group, PLLC will share, several myths can make this area of the law even more complicated. Understanding these common fallacies can help businesses and employees gain a greater understanding of discrimination and take action to prevent it. 

The following are the top five myths that surround employment discrimination:  

#1. Myth: Discrimination Only Occurs During Hiring

Reality: While discrimination can happen during the hiring process, it can also occur at any point during employment. Discrimination can occur in promotions, layoffs, salary negotiations, and terminations. It can also be prevalent in everyday work environments, affecting the quality of work life through harassment or unfavorable treatment. Understanding this broad scope of potential discrimination helps employees and employers take a more proactive approach to prevent it.

#2. Myth: Discrimination Only Occurs based on Race, Sex, or Age

Reality: While race, sex, and age are common forms of discrimination, they are not the only types. Discrimination can also occur due to disability, pregnancy, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. In many countries, these categories are legally protected against discrimination. Employers and employees need to understand the breadth of these categories to foster a more inclusive and respectful workplace.

#3. Myth: If It Doesn’t Involve Firing or Hiring, It’s Not Discrimination

Reality: Discrimination does not just occur during the hiring and firing processes of employment; it can happen at any time. Discrimination can be more subtle, and it may involve denying someone their rightful benefits, refusing to provide necessary accommodations, providing less favorable work conditions, or consistently passing them over for promotions or raises. Remember, any unfair treatment based on legally protected characteristics can constitute discrimination.

#4. Myth: Small Companies Do Not Have to Comply with Discrimination Laws

Reality: Many people believe that smaller companies, due to their size, do not have to comply with discrimination laws. Although specific laws may apply in various ways depending on the size of a company, all employers must comply with laws prohibiting discriminatory practices. The company’s size may influence the extent of the regulations, but no company is exempt from preventing and addressing discrimination.

#5. Myth: Victims of Discrimination Are the Only Ones Who Can File a Complaint

Reality: Although one person may experience workplace discrimination, they are not the only person who may file a complaint or lawsuit against the responsible party. Anyone who has witnessed discriminatory practices in the workplace can file a complaint. Additionally, laws are in place to protect those who report or oppose discriminatory practices from retaliation. Workplace employees and their employers must understand their role in standing against discrimination, fostering an environment of shared responsibility and respect.

To combat employment discrimination, employees and employers must understand the common myths surrounding this unlawful practice. Awareness of these realities can help build a fair, respectful, and inclusive workplace. With this understanding, it’s possible to take significant steps toward eliminating discrimination and fostering an equitable work environment.