A Guide To Identifying Types Of Workplace Discrimination

Editorial Team

Identifying Types Of Workplace Discrimination

Have you ever experienced workplace discrimination? It is essential to understand your rights and take action. Workplace discrimination can take many forms, including discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, disability, national origin, and sexual orientation. Discrimination can have severe and long-lasting consequences for individuals who experience it, including lost job opportunities, lower pay, and limited career advancement. Below is the guide to help you identify and understand workplace discrimination. Whether you have experienced discrimination yourself or you are concerned about workplace discrimination, this guide is for you.

1. Racial Discrimination

The practice of discriminating against someone because of their race or ethnicity occurs in the workplace. This includes, but is not limited to, hiring, salary, racial harassment, segregation, racial profiling, denial of opportunity, and retribution. It can also encompass any behaviour or acts that unfairly punish an employee or job applicant based on their race. Employers may, for instance, decline to hire a candidate based on their race, pay a worker of a different race more for the same position, use racial slurs in the workplace, assign workers of various races to various departments based on their races, or penalize a worker for reporting racial discrimination. If you experience such issues, it is an indicator of racial discrimination.

2. Gender Discrimination

“Gender discrimination” describes how people are treated unfairly based on gender. Unequal compensation, unequal access to school and employment prospects, and unequal treatment at work are just a few ways it might appear. People subjected to this prejudice frequently suffer severe consequences, such as lower financial stability, fewer professional possibilities, and constrained social mobility. For example, men and women can experience prejudice based on their gender, particularly in certain businesses or societies, but women are more frequently the targets of gender discrimination. Additionally, because of their gender identification, those who identify as transgender or non-binary may be marginalized and discriminated against even more. Tackling gender discrimination is crucial for building a just and equitable society.

3. Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination is when employees or job seekers are treated unfairly because of their pregnancy, childbirth, or associated medical conditions. This can include being passed over for job openings or promotions, being made to take unpaid time off or be fired, or not making accommodations for a pregnant employee’s requirements at work. Treatment of pregnant workers differently in terms of pay, hours, or other working conditions is another example of pregnancy discrimination. It is imperative to address pregnancy prejudice to build a just and equal society where everyone may realize their full potential regardless of their pregnancy status. 

4. Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is the practice of treating people differently based on their age. It can happen in various settings, such as the workplace, a home, a school, and a healthcare facility. Age discrimination in the workplace can take different forms. For instance, the state of older workers being unfairly retrenched or denied promotions or job chances. Treating older workers differently in terms of compensation, hours, or other working circumstances is another example of age discrimination.

Workers who are younger may also be discriminated against from holding management positions. This is often due to the assumption that younger employees lack the necessary experience. Addressing age discrimination is essential for creating a fairer and more equal society where individuals can reach their full potential, regardless of age. 

5. Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination is the term for treating somebody unfairly according to their religion. Unequal access to employment, housing, education, and public facilities are just a few of the ways it might appear. Denial of job opportunities or promotions due to religion, unjust termination of employees, or a failure to make accommodations for religious practices at work is all examples of religious discrimination. It can also entail treating someone differently based on their faith regarding wages, hours, or other working conditions. It is crucial to address religious discrimination to build a just and equal society where people are free to practice their faith. 

6. Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination in the workplace occurs when an individual with a disability is treated unfairly or differently because of their disability. This can include denying equal employment opportunities, failing to make reasonable accommodations, harassing or mistreating an individual because of their disability, or retaliating against an individual for asserting their rights under the law. For example, an employer may not hire an individual with a disability even though they are qualified for the job or may fail to provide the necessary accommodations for an employee to perform their job, such as modifying their work schedule or providing assistive technology.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. Disability discrimination is illegal, and violators can face significant consequences, including fines, legal action, and damage to their reputation. It is important for employers to understand their obligations under the ADA and to take steps to prevent and address disability discrimination in the workplace.

It is crucial for employers to understand the importance of providing equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This includes following the ADA’s legal requirements and creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture. This can involve training employees on disability awareness and sensitivity, as well as regularly reviewing and updating workplace policies and procedures to ensure they are accessible and inclusive for individuals with disabilities.

Employers must also be proactive in making reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, which can include:

  • Modifying work schedules
  • Providing assistive technology
  • Making physical modifications to the workplace

These accommodations can help ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to opportunities and can perform their job duties effectively. It is important to note that disability discrimination can also be harassment or mistreatment, which can create a hostile work environment and cause emotional distress for the affected employee. Employers must take steps to prevent and address disability harassment and to provide a safe and supportive workplace for all employees.

By preventing and addressing disability discrimination in the workplace, employers can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace that benefits everyone. This can improve morale, increase employee engagement, and lead to better business outcomes for the company as a whole.

7. National Origin Discrimination

Discrimination against people based on their national origin or ancestry is referred to as national origin discrimination. This can happen in a variety of settings, such as the workplace, a home, a school, or a healthcare facility. National origin discrimination in the workplace can take the form of rejecting job openings or promotions, requiring early retirement, or unfairly dismissing employees. In addition, the national origin might be used as a basis for treating workers differently in terms of pay, working hours, or other workplace conditions. Discrimination based on national origin is prohibited by federal law and many state laws, and it can have serious repercussions for those impacted, such as lost income, missed job prospects, and restricted earning potential. National origin discrimination must be addressed in order to create a more equitable society.

8. Retaliation

Retaliation is the term used to describe negative acts performed against a person for using their legal rights or carrying out other protected activity. This can happen in a variety of settings, such as the workplace, a home, a school, or a healthcare facility. Retaliation at work can take the form of a worker being demoted, fired, working fewer hours, receiving a wage cut, or receiving other unfavourable treatment because they reported harassment, discrimination, or other illegal activity. Retaliation may also take place if an employee suffers consequences for taking part in a discrimination or harassment investigation or legal action. Retaliation is prohibited by federal law and many state regulations, and it can have serious negative effects on the victims, such as lost pay, missed job chances, and reduced earning potential. Retaliation must be addressed in order to build a more just and equal society. 

9. Political Affiliation

A person experiences political affiliation discrimination when mistreated due to their political opinions or actions. This could happen in various settings related to the workplace, housing, education, and healthcare. Political affiliation discrimination at work can take the form of withholding job opportunities or promotions, requiring early retirement, or unfairly terminating employees based on their political convictions. Political affiliation discrimination can also take the form of treating employees differently in terms of compensation, working hours, or other circumstances, depending on their political opinions. Political affiliation discrimination is not expressly prohibited by federal law. However, it may be interpreted as such in some situations, such as when it is based on a protected trait, like race or national origin. 

A person’s identification with a certain political party or ideology is their political affiliation. It is the affiliation or alignment of a person with a political movement or organization that upholds similar principles. Many factors can influence political affiliation such as:

  • Family background
  • Education
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Personal experiences
  • Cultural or regional identity

In some countries, political affiliation is a crucial part of citizens’ identity, shaping their views on important issues, such as taxation, social welfare, foreign policy, and civil rights. However, political affiliation can also lead to polarization, bias, and discrimination, as people may become too entrenched in their beliefs and unwilling to listen to opposing viewpoints. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a respectful and open-minded attitude towards people with different political affiliations and engage in constructive dialogue to find common ground and solutions to shared challenges.

10. Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation relates to an individual’s emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to persons of a particular gender. Sexual orientation discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation. This kind of discrimination can take many various forms, including harassment, bullying, exclusion, and unfair treatment at work, in higher education settings, in housing markets, and in government initiatives. This type of prejudice can harm a person’s mental health and general well-being, in addition to limiting their ability to take advantage of equal opportunities and participate fully in society.

It is important to keep in mind that there is still much to be done to promote inclusion and respect for diversity, as it is a prevalent issue in many regions of the world. There are several places where this might occur. Common places include:

  • Workplace
  • Home
  • School
  • Healthcare facility

In the workplace, sexual orientation discrimination can take the form of forcing early retirement, denying candidates for positions or promotions or unfairly terminating workers. Another instance of sexual orientation discrimination is the treatment of employees differently in terms of compensation, hours, or other working circumstances. Sexual orientation discrimination is illegal under federal law and a number of state laws and those who are the target of it may have severe penalties like lost wages, missed job opportunities, and limited earning potential. 

When someone is the target of sexual orientation discrimination, they endure unfair treatment because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation. In order to build a just and equitable society where people can express their sexual orientation freely and without fear of prejudice, it is imperative to address sexual orientation discrimination. This requires changes in laws, policies, and attitudes, as well as increased education and awareness around the issue of sexual orientation discrimination. It also requires ongoing effort and commitment to promoting LGBTQ+ rights and equality and creating a more inclusive and diverse society.


Workplace discrimination is a serious issue that can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on employees and the workplace. It is unacceptable to discriminate against employees based on their race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, national origin, political affiliation, or any other characteristic. Employers are responsible for creating a fair and inclusive workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment, and employees have the right to report and seek relief from any form of discrimination they experience. It is important to understand types of discrimination and address them in the workplace. This will help to promote a respectful and supportive workplace for all employees.