Maryland Employers: Are Your Employment Practices Discriminatory?
Discrimination in the workplace is something that every person probably thinks they understand. However, there are many misconceptions on the issues. For example, people might think that if a woman gets hired for a job instead of a man, it is automatically considered discrimination. Or they believe that someone of a certain age or race cannot be fired.
These scenarios are not necessarily discriminatory at face value; but if employment practices effectively treat some applicants or workers better than others, it could be considered discrimination. In the scenarios mentioned above, employers could face serious consequences if they only seek and hire females or if the decision to fire someone is based on age and not his or her job performance.
Discrimination laws in Maryland and across the country can be deceivingly complex. This is because they cover every aspect of a job - from posting an ad to termination - and protect workers who fall into many categories.
Workplace discrimination laws, as enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, protect workers from being discriminated against based on their age, sex, race, religion, color, national origin, genetic information or disability. This means that employment decisions are not to be based on these factors.
However, potential, current and former employees do not always agree with or understand employers' decisions and may believe they were treated unfairly because of how they look, their health or what their cultural background is. An employer, on the other hand, may have made a legitimate reason to deny an applicant, promote one person over another or fire someone. Employees and employers can have very different perspectives on the same situations.
Because of how serious the consequences of violating state and federal employments laws can be, it can be crucial for employers to be sure that they are in compliance every step of the way; from the application process to promotions and from discipline to departure. These responsibilities can be difficult to understand and manage without experience in this area of employment law, which is why business owners and employers may be wise to consult an attorney to discuss their options and rights.