Americans seem to be working longer hours these days than they did 30 years ago, and most people agree that U.S. residents work more and take fewer vacations than people living in some of the other industrialized countries. This means that Oklahomans, like the rest of the country, spend a lot of time at their places of employment. Because of this, it is important that employees understand that they should not have to put up with illegal discrimination while at work.
Various federal and state laws protect employees from discrimination based on protected statuses, including race, gender, ethnicity or religion. Employers also must make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, and must follow certain rules when it comes to some health-related leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Discrimination can take many forms, including the loss of opportunities for promotions or larger bonuses or better commission pay. It could also take the form of the creation of a hostile working environment, either by supervisors, co-workers, or even, in some situations, customers or vendors.
Sometimes, we all decide to "go along to get along." There is often a lot of pressure to not "rock the boat." This is especially true if one really needs one's job to make ends meet, as most people do these days. However, it is illegal for employers to fire or otherwise penalize an employee for exercising his or her rights under anti-discrimination laws. There are several possible avenues to address workplace discrimination, from filing claims with state or federal agencies to possible civil lawsuits against employers. There are also some timing deadlines on such claims. Considering how much of people's lives are spent at work, protecting their rights should be an important consideration. Anyone who wants more information on employment discrimination may want to browse our various websites on the issue.