Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited when that discrimination is on the basis of one’s sex/gender, race, national origin, religion, age (if over forty), disability, pregnancy, genetic information and military service. It is prohibited against both employees and job applicants. Employment discrimination on one of these classifications generally falls into two forms of conduct. “Because of” discrimination The most common form of discriminatory acts in the workplace is when the employer engages in prohibited conduct because of the individual’s protected classification. This form of discrimination applies to all terms and conditions of employment from the most significant, hiring and firing “because of” the protected trait, to less obvious terms and conditions of employment such as pay rate, raises, bonuses, promotions, job assignments, job duties, shift assignments, fringe benefits offered, demotions, false performance reviews, false disciplinary actions, holding the employee to a different standard from others without the protected trait and other employer conduct. This kind of discrimination may be targeted at a single individual, a class of individuals, or even be the result of non-discriminatory conduct that has a discriminatory impact on the workforce. Hostile work environment Discrimination can also occur without any specific negative act by the employer or a supervisor through a hostile work environment. There are many components to prove a hostile work environment but the basic idea is that the employer and/or its employees have engaged in offensive conduct against the employee on the basis of a protected trait that is either so severe or so pervasive in the workplace that it causes a substantial negative effect on the employee. This can be as much as driving the employee to quit to avoid the toxic environment but it can be as much as showing significant emotional stress due to the harassment. Refusal to provide a reasonable accommodation When an employee has a physical or mental disability and requires an accommodation to perform the essential job duties, the employee must make the employer aware of the need and the two sides must engage in a discussion to find a reasonable accommodation that allows the employee to perform the essential job duties without too much of a burden on the employer. If the employer refuses to engage in that conversation or refuses to implement a reasonable accommodation, this is also a form of discrimination. This form of discrimination is specific to disability discrimination. However, disabled individuals can be discriminated against through “because of” discrimination and a hostile work environment.
"how discrimination occurs"