The Importance of Anti-Discrimination Policies in the Workplace

October 17, 2023

Discrimination is a problem in many North Carolina workplaces. Fortunately, both state and federal laws provide protections for workers. These protections come in the form of anti-discrimination laws and policies that serve an essential role in the well-being of our community. This article will discuss the types of anti-discrimination laws that exist as well as the importance of ensuring individual protections in the workplace. If you are in need of assistance, contact us today to speak with a Charlotte employment lawyer.

Workplace Discrimination Comes In Several Forms

Employees face many forms. Common examples that arise include:

  • Racial & ethnic discrimination – This occurs when someone is denied employment, fired, or denied a promotion based on their race or ethnic background. Other examples can include giving an employee an unfavorable schedule, demoting an individual, or denying them other workplace benefits.
  • Gender Discrimination – This occurs when one is treated unfairly solely on the basis of their gender. It is important to understand that the sole determining factor is whether gender is the basis for a decision. Whether or not the person making the decision is the same gender as the person being discriminated against is irrelevant to whether discrimination occurred.
  • Age Discrimination – Many stereotypes are held against people who are no longer in their youth. These stereotypes include a belief that they somehow cannot do their job. Denying opportunity to someone or terminating them out of a belief that they are “too old for the job” constitutes age discrimination.
  • Discrimination Based on a Disability – Living with a disability creates many barriers in an individual’s life. Employers sometimes create additional barriers by discriminating against disabled individuals out of a mistaken belief that they cannot perform a given job. An individual has been discriminated against due to a disability when it would not have interfered with their ability to do the job but was the basis for the employer denying them.

It is also worth noting that it is common for an individual to face discrimination on multiple fronts. If, for example, an employer denies an African-American woman employment due to both her race and gender, then she would have been discriminated against on two fronts.

Laws That Protect Against Discrimination

Fortunately, there are several laws that protect against the types of discrimination discussed above. These laws include the following:

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – This federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. This prohibition extends to discriminatory practices in regard to the hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, and classification of employees.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act – This federal law protects individuals who are at least 40 years old from being denied opportunity solely on the basis of age and beliefs that they cannot do the job because of it.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act – This law requires that companies of a certain size make reasonable accommodations to those with disabilities so that they may do their job. It is important to note that an employer is only required to make “reasonable” accommodations – a company will not be required to bear excessive expense or reorganize its business model to accommodate an individual with a disability.

How your rights can be asserted under each of these laws will depend on the specifics of the circumstances. If your federal rights have been violated, you may be able to bring a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may also be able to bring a lawsuit directly against your employer, or it may be in your best interest to attempt to settle without litigation. An experienced employment law attorney can assist you with determining the best course of action.

Workers Only Have a Limited Time To Exercise Their Rights

It is important to understand that you only have a limited time to assert your rights under the laws discussed above. Most EEOC claims, for example, must be filed within 180 days of the most recent employer violation. Under some circumstances, this timeframe can be extended to 300 days. Also, under North Carolina law, many claims must also be brought within 180 days. If you miss any of these statutes of limitations, your claims will be considered “time-barred,” and you will not be able to gain compensation.

The most effective way to ensure that you do not miss a statute of limitations is to speak with a lawyer as soon as you believe you have been discriminated against. It will take time for counsel to investigate the matter and prepare your case. The sooner you gain representation, the more you guarantee against missing a deadline.

The Benefits of Protecting Workplace Diversity

The aforementioned laws serve the purpose of protecting a diverse and inclusive workplace. Maintaining such a workplace is important as it allows employees to feel more comfortable, which, in turn, increases productivity and comradery. Also, bringing diverse viewpoints into the workplace allows for more dynamic approaches to problem-solving that help a business provide more value to its customers. Furthermore, when employees are exposed to different viewpoints, it provides a frame of reference that can be used to better deal with customers or clients. In short, employers can increase their bottom line by maintaining a diverse workplace.

Contact a Charlotte Employment Attorney if You Have Been Discriminated Against

If you believe you have been discriminated against, it is important that you take action as soon as possible. If you fail to take action within the limited time prescribed by law, you may lose the opportunity to gain the compensation which you deserve. Contacting an experienced lawyer is the first step towards ensuring that you are protected. The Fuller Law Firm, P.C. is devoted to protecting the rights of individuals, and we look forward to being of assistance. Contact us online or by telephone at (704) 659-5600 and schedule a consultation with a Charlotte employment lawyer.