Discrimination in the workplace is defined by an employer's decision to either fire or unfairly compensate an individual employee based not on job performance but rather on some identity trait, such as race, gender, age, national origin, physical disability, or sexual orientation.
Gender and Race
The first anti-discrimination laws were enacted in 1964 as part of the first civil rights act, and declared that people could not be fired solely based on these traits. The Equal Pay Act mandated that a man and a woman performing the same task in an organization or workplace must be compensated equally.
Discrimination law also pertains to employers who refuse to adapt their working environments to be accessible to physically handicapped or disabled persons per the Americans With Disabilities Act. This can include, but is not limited to, providing an access ramp to the facility, providing disabled-accessible bathrooms, and making sure that all areas of the facility have either a ramp or elevator to allow fair access.
Any claimant should realize that discrimination law is based on civil rights, and will therefore be interpreted through that lens. Each discrimination lawsuit and its subsequent compensation to the victim vary depending on the specific circumstances of the discrimination, and the amount of salary or wages involved. Damages can be restricted to a specific sum of money that the victim of discrimination was unfairly denied, either through unlawful termination, biased promotion, or blatant unequal pay. However, if the discrimination was exceptional and constituted harassment, resulting in significant emotional damage, the victim may be entitled to other financial compensation aside from the specific amount of salary/wages. Because there are a variety of temporary conditions that can also constitute discrimination and unfair pay, such as pregnancy, discrimination law continues to develop and change based on new precedents in the workplace.
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