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Have you been discriminated against at work?

Acts of workplace discrimination may be explicit or subtle in nature and relate to an employee's race, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and national origin. While federal and state laws exist to protect U.S. workers from suffering workplace discrimination, such laws are often violated and disregarded by co-workers, managers and supervisors.

Under U.S. workplace anti-discrimination laws, employers cannot discriminate against an employee or potential employee with regard to "hiring, firing, promotion or compensation." While some acts of workplace discrimination like only hiring men or making disparaging comments about an employee's age or race are obvious, others are more subtle in nature and may be difficult to prove.

Coming forward to report discrimination takes courage and some employees may fear retaliation by both co-workers and supervisors. It's important, however, that employees who are experiencing discrimination in the workplace take measures to report and address such matters. When possible, employees are encouraged to file a complaint with a company's human resources department and request that documentation of such be detailed in a formal report along with actions an employer plans to take in response.

Due to the fact that many acts of discrimination occur when no one else is around and center on discriminatory comments or actions, it's important to have documentation. Employees, therefore, are encouraged to keep a diary and provide details related to any and all related comments, actions and incidents.

Orange county residents who believe that they have been the subject of workplace discrimination would be wise to discuss their case with an attorney who handles employment law matters. In some cases, legal action may be taken to recover compensation to account for economic losses.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Dealing with Discrimination: Tips for Employees," 2015

FindLaw.com, "Discrimination Overview," 2015

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