United States federal law prohibits the practice of employment discrimination. Employers who are found guilty of violations of the law can face rather stiff financial penalties and other actions that simply combine to show that employment discrimination is not something to get involved with.
Under federal law, employment discrimination can take place under a few different circumstances that impact most businesses. These include:
• During employee hiring and firing
• In regard to the pay, assignments or classifications given to employees
• During advertising, recruitment, training and testing of employees
• In regard to any fringe benefits, pensions or other forms of compensation given employees
To protect against charges of employment discrimination, employers must take steps to ensure their actions are fair, unbiased by certain factors and generally only hinge on qualifications, abilities and demonstrated practices of employees themselves.
The buzz words employers need to watch out for in regard to employment discrimination are many. In general, employers are prohibited from:
• Harassing employees on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, age or disability.
• Engaging in any act of retaliation against an employee who files a complaint of employment discrimination or takes part in an ongoing investigation about discrimination.
• Making hiring decisions based on stereotypes based on gender, age, religion, color, national origin, disability and so on. To be safe and avoid employment discrimination charges, employers should make hiring, firing and promotion decisions based solely on an employee’s qualifications and demonstrated performance. Take care with the wording of employment advertisements, as well. These can sometimes be used to prove discrimination claims.
• Making hiring decisions based on a potential employee’s marriage to someone based on color, race, religion, origin, disability and so on. The potential employee or the employee’s spouse should not be a factor in hiring as well. This is the best way to avoid a claim of discrimination based on these factors.
Employers that want to protect themselves against claims of discrimination should take measures to ensure fair practices throughout their business structures. Employees should be rewarded or reprimanded solely on their performance and abilities. Never allow other factors to come into play and the chances of a claim being filed are minimized.
Employment discrimination is a very big issue facing employers today. To protect a business, it is best to use the best judgment when hiring, firing or promoting. Creating uniform policies and procedures and ensuring they are followed can go a long way toward this end. Even with the best laid plans, however, complaints are sometimes still filed.