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What Are the Effects of Discrimination in the Workplace?


Discrimination in the workplace can have a major impact on an individual employee's life. On an emotional level, it can lead to feelings of isolation and exclusion, which can greatly reduce morale and productivity. It may also result in physical or psychological health problems, such as anxiety and depression.

Discrimination may also hurt employees financially by preventing them from getting promotions, raises, or access to training opportunities. It can also mean a lack of fair treatment in terms of workloads and job assignments. Being discriminated against may even prevent workers from finding employment altogether.

Overall, discrimination has far-reaching consequences for both individuals and businesses. It is therefore essential that employers take steps to ensure that everyone in the workplace is treated fairly and with respect. This will create an inclusive environment where employees feel safe and respected, enabling them to do their best work.

How to Identify Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace can be overt, but it isn’t always so apparent. That’s why it’s important to gain a better understanding of workplace discrimination and how you can identify it.

Protected Characteristics

When it comes down to it, unlawful discrimination at work occurs when an employee receives poor or unfair treatment from their employer or coworkers based on a protected characteristic. Also called a protected class, such characteristics are those protected against workplace discrimination by federal and state laws.

In California, protected characteristics include the following:

  • Age (40 or older)
  • Race (including natural hair)
  • Skin Color
  • National Origin/Ancestry
  • Religion
  • Gender (expression and identity)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and childbirth)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • HIV/AIDS Status
  • Marital Status
  • Veteran Status

There are other protected characteristics, but this gives you an idea of whom anti-discrimination laws protect. Employers may not take a protected characteristic into account when deciding to hire, fire, reprimand, or reward employees. Any unfair treatment demonstrated in the workplace may create a hostile work environment and constitute a violation of an employee’s rights.

Examples of Workplace Discrimination

There are many ways an employee can experience workplace discrimination. It can occur on an individual level between one or more coworkers, and discrimination can occur on an institutional level via the company’s policies and workplace culture.

In California, the following would likely be considered workplace discrimination:

  • Deciding wages and compensation based on an employee’s sex or race
  • Failing to promote an employee because of their disability
  • Harassing an older employee because of their age
  • Forcing employees to participate in an employer’s religious activities
  • Failing to promote a female employee because she might get pregnant
  • Firing a transgender employee for transitioning

There are countless ways in which workplace discrimination can manifest. If you suspect you were discriminated against at work, the best thing to do is to contact an experienced employment law attorney.

Did You Experience Discrimination at Work? We Can Help.

At K2 Employment Law, our attorneys understand how difficult it can be to fight against workplace discrimination. Whether discrimination occurs due to a person's gender, race, religion, or any other protected class, it's never appropriate in the workplace and shouldn’t be tolerated.

Our experienced employment law attorneys can work with you to assert your rights when you experience discrimination at work. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more.

Get started now by contacting K2 Employment Law online!