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Indianapolis Employment Law Blog

The consequences of age discrimination

Some people do not take age discrimination seriously, whether they think that older workers and job applicants should simply accept the fact that they can be turned away due to their age or they do not understand how serious discrimination of any form can be. Unfortunately, age discrimination can turn the lives of workers and those applying for a position upside down in various ways. Age discrimination can result in many harsh consequences, not only from a financial perspective but in terms of one's emotional health and future opportunities as well.

As with other forms of discrimination in the workplace, age discrimination may occur in a number of ways. Whether someone is fired solely because of their age, they are not paid fairly, they are subjected to serious harassment or they are discriminated against while applying for a job that they are fully qualified for, any instance of age discrimination is unacceptable. Victims of age discrimination may feel humiliated, angry or depressed. They may have anxiety with regard to their employment opportunities and financial circumstances and they may not know how to move forward.

How can you develop a tolerance in the workplace?

A critical part of organizational success within your company is developing an environment where your coworkers tolerate each other and are respectful of differing views and backgrounds. While your employer in Indiana is primarily responsible for setting the precedence for tolerance, you can support those efforts by making an effort to be inclusive and willing to work with others who are different than you. 

The joint efforts of you and your coworkers to develop synergy can not only create an environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated, but it can also aid in efforts to increase motivation and morale for everyone working at your company. When you feel good and are surrounded by other individuals who also feel respected, the chances that all of you will be able to work more efficiently and effectively are significantly higher. 

LGBTQ rights cases head to U.S. Supreme Court

Across the nation, including in Indiana, the nation continues to struggle at times with how to protect the rights of workers based on varying criteria. Since the 1960s, the Civil Rights Act has been invoked on multiple occasions to protect employees from unfair discrimination. It is specifically Title VII of that legislation that expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against people in specific identified protected classes.

The protected classes include people of a specific religion, ethnic background or country of origin. Sex is another factor on which employees are supposed to be free of concern about being discriminated against. However, it has come to light that the term "sex" in the context of the law is somewhat ambiguous. As reported by Vox, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has indicated it considers sexual orientation and gender identity to be inherently included in "sex" insofar as Title VII protections are concerned. Not everyone seems to agree with this, however.

What are the signs of age discrimination at work?

While older workers should be valued for their wisdom and experience, this is not always the case. Some workplaces are quite hostile towards older workers, to the point where steps are taken to oust aging employees over a younger, less expensive staff. If you're concerned that you're the victim of age discrimination, AARP recommends looking for the following signs. 

Diminishing performance reviews

Is alcoholism a disability?

Addiction is a challenge many people face throughout their lives. Almost everyone knows a friend or family who has fallen prey to alcohol or drug abuse.

For decades, the American Medical Association has defined alcoholism as a primary, progressive, chronic disease “with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.” While the medical consensus is that addiction is a disease, does it qualify as a disability?

Laws prohibiting age discrimination and harassment

Many people in Indiana today find that they are not always ready to retire as early as their parents or grandparents did. There may be a myriad of reasons for this but regardless of why, a person at an older age should be able to work without fear of being discriminated against or harassed because of their age. Fortunately, there are legal protections in place designed to prevent this or to provide workers the ability to seek compensation if such things do occur.

As explained by the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, the federal government has in place a law called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This actually covers employees starting from the age of 40 and up. Per the provisions of the ADEA, no person should be subject to harassment because they are over 40. This includes having to endure repeated or ongoing jokes or negative comments about their age from a colleague.

Can dress codes constitute a form of discrimination?

Many Indiana corporations and businesses want their employees to maintain a professional look or a style of dress that comports with the values of the company. A dress code is generally not a problem. However, if a dress code is being unfairly applied in certain circumstances, it could constitute a type of discrimination.

As Chron.com explains, sometimes a dress code may pose problems for groups that are protected under law from discrimination. For example, your company’s dress code should not burden people who identify as religious by banning religious wear. Bans on native wear may also run afoul of the law. Basically, dress codes that seem to single out Christians, Muslims, Native Americans, Hispanics or other such groups can become a legal issue for the company.

Major companies continue to send wrong message about harassment

The #MeToo movement has greatly raised awareness of sexual harassment and assault – both in and out of the workplace. Many people without firsthand experience of sexual misconduct are surprised at just how prevalent the problem is. Why, in 2019, would this behavior still be so common?

A significant amount of the blame lies with corporate culture. Leadership and management at any company set the tone and the expectations for the rest of the organization. And in the case of Google, the company’s actions send the message that sexual harassment will be rewarded rather than punished.

Religious beliefs can put gay workers at risk

Since the #MeToo movement gained steam, many workers have stepped up to accuse their employers of workplace discrimination. Several managers that got away with harassing employees for their genders, races, sexual orientations and disabilities for years were starting to see justice for their illegal actions.

However, the process of filing a claim against an employer for discrimination isn’t completely straightforward in some industries. Schools affiliated with specific religions are still having issues when it comes to hiring people that go against their particular beliefs. A recent case in Indiana highlights the ongoing struggles that these employers have with the LGBT community.

Subtle signs of pregnancy discrimination at work

Many women work hard to balance their careers with motherhood. With supportive resources like maternity leave and workplace friendships, pregnant women in the 21st century may have little reason to expect discrimination. Nonetheless, the problem persists in many companies, even those that openly talk about creating inclusive communities.

You may be one of many working women going through pregnancy, and if you're used to having a friendly work environment, the signs of pregnancy discrimination may be harder to spot. Whether you feel uncomfortable or are almost sure you are experiencing discrimination, consider whether any of the following instances has happened to you:

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