Employment Discrimination: Knowing What To Look Out For

Employment Discrimination: Knowing What To Look Out For

As a job seeker, it is pertinent that you be aware of your rights in relation to getting a job. No, there aren't any laws that mandate a specific employer hire you, but there are laws in place that deter employers from discriminating against you. Here's a quick overview of discrimination laws and how they affect you and your job hunt.

Discrimination Laws

First of all, it's important to note that there are both federal and state discrimination laws. Some employers add their own laws as well; however, federal and state laws take precedence. Over the past several decades, there have been many discrimination laws set into place:


The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) strives to ensure equality among all job seekers. Discriminations that this organization protects you from include:

What Do These Discriminatory Practices Cover?

Discrimination laws extend way beyond the hiring and firing processes; they cover employment as a whole, including:

Understand That There Are Exceptions

If you're female, you'll likely have a difficult time becoming a clergyman at a Catholic church. If you're a 3rd grade teacher with a bachelor's degree, you probably won't be able to land a job as a college professor. What we're trying to say is that there are exceptions to discrimination laws. Just because you can't be discriminated against due to gender or age doesn't mean you can get a job as a pilot. There are certain qualifications that you'll need to acquire certain jobs.

Also, keep in mind that if you are seeking employment through a company that doesn't employ at least 15 people, then discrimination laws likely won't be in affect. Coverage also differs from one company to the next and is largely based on the the industry and line of work that the company operates in.

What Should You Do If You Are Discriminated Against?

If you feel that you have been discriminated against, it is pertinent that you file a claim. The HR department of your employer can help you file it. The case will be reviewed and if you were discriminated against, you will be given your job position back. You may also qualify for punitive and liquidated damages.

The best way to ensure you are not being discriminated against is by staying up to date with today's latest discriminatory laws and practices. While many cases can be handled between you and the employer during a discrimination case, there are times that you might find it advantageous to have an attorney on your side who specializes in employment law.

Lastly, when you are applying for a job or during an interview, ask for a copy of the company's discrimination policy handbook. Most times, it will be in the employee handbook. Make sure to read through the policy before accepting a job offer to determine whether or not you are comfortable with the employer's discriminatory practices.