Discrimination and Workplace Harassment

Workplace Discrimination Laws

Discrimination in the workplace is against the law. If you suspect that you have been treated differently because of one of a number of reasons, you have the right to sue the employer or potential employer. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII protects employees from workplace discrimination.

Categories Of Discrimination

Discrimination is the act of treating someone differently in the workplace based on a number of identifiers including:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Skin color
  • Religion, or creed
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Disability
  • Nation of origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Arrest record
  • Conviction record
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Carrier status for disease

Disability Discrimination

States will also have more their own laws protecting employees. The state of New York, for example, also has a more detailed description of disabilities than federal statutes outline. In New York, disability may be attributed to obesity, illness as a result of stress, and other disabilities as they may be defined. In New York City, there are other identifiers added, including:

  • Alienage
  • Citizenship status
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • HIV/AIDS specifically
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence
  • Marital retaliation
  • Psychological impairment
  • Mental impairment
  • Physical impairment
  • Medical impairment
  • Any history or record of these impairments

Workplace Harassment

Harassment is a form of discrimination and is protected by both state and federal laws. Whether it’s physical or verbal workplace harassment is illegal. Aggressors are usually triggered, without sound reason, by the gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or disability of a person, although many other triggers exist.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is probably the most recognized form of workplace harassment. Any person who makes unwanted verbal or physical advancements in a sexual nature is committing sexual harassment. This includes making the other person feel uncomfortable.

Racial Harassment

Racial harassment is also a well recognized form of workplace harassment. If you feel someone has targeted you because of your race, speaking derogatory racial comments or such, then you have suffered a form of racial workplace harassment.


Probably one of the least thought of forms of workplace harassment is bullying. Bullying does not have to be physical – it can be psychological and verbal. Threats, humiliation, slander, invasion of privacy, and abuse are all forms of bullying.

Filing A Discrimination Claim In New York

If you wish to file a discrimination claim in New York, you can do it through the state organization: New York Division of Human Rights. You can also file with the federal organization: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In NYC, you can go to the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

It is often recommended that you consult an attorney to help you with your claim. An employment attorney will make sure you have the right claim form, and that it is submitted in a timely manner, with not mistakes. This will expedite your claim. You may also be entitled to compensation and a lawyer well versed in employment law is crucial to protecting your rights and maximizing your results.

About Aimee Lancaster

Born and raised in New York Aimee works as a freelance author and contributes to multiple publications and blogs around the world.