We are all faced with decisions that require some element of discrimination. We base our choices on the value one thing may contain over another, and often these are based on ideals so ingrained we cannot really explain our actions. But what is employment discrimination? This is a clear-cut beast based on the eradication of prejudice and stereotyping in the workplace.
To curb the sex-based version of what is employment discrimination realized with the wage-gap between working adult males and females, the Equal Pay Act was put into play in 1963. In 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was implemented to prohibit hiring practices based on what is employment discrimination such as gender, race, religion or national origin.
And in 1967, the Age Discrimination Employment Act was put into play to protect citizens of the age of 40 or older from experiencing ageist practices of what is employment discrimination.
But the fact remains that there are still issues with this kind of discrimination today. Recent studies reflect the wage gap still applies 40 years after the EPA was put into force, as women earn just 77% on average of their male counterparts.
In September 1995, Chicago based law firm Stowell and Friedman commenced a class action lawsuit against Merrill Lynch for sex-based employment discrimination. The firm represented Marybeth Cremin (among others), who was unfairly terminated from her position as a Merrill Lynch broker in 1995 after a maternity leave.
The lawsuit has risen to 900 claims from women in similar predicaments, and Merrill Lynch – although not admitting guilt – hastened to announce a settlement agreement with various claimants.
And in February of 1995, Barbara Gerland was awarded with $300,000 from a federal jury for her case against a Lake Tahoe fire department for what is employment discrimination. She claims she was forced to watch subversive and pornographic material in an attempt by the all-male staff to prevent her from becoming their first female fire fighter.
Race discrimination is also still around, and sometimes creeps up in different shades. In 1999, a white art instructor at the University of Wisconsin – La Cross sued and won $150,000 in a case of what is employment discrimination. John Ready was passed over for tenure in favor of an Asian employee, and Ready alleges that this played in favor of Affirmative Action stipulations, and thus discriminated on the basis that he was white.
So what is employment discrimination, exactly? Simply put, it occurs when employers advocate for – or fight against – the hiring of specific employees. Basing a hiring decision on age, race, gender, religious affiliation, national heritage, disability or sexual orientation is against the law.
Practicing these illegal maneuvers in recruiting, promotion, and pay violates State and Federal Labor Laws such as Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination Employment Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Class action law suits in six and seven denomination awards are evidence of the high penalties imposed for such practices.