Most of us are raised with the inherent idea that the world should be fair, and many find it a rude awakening when we go into the “real world” and life is simply not fair after all. However, this does not mean that there is never any recourse when something unethical happens. Certain cases of workplace discrimination may be actionable not because they are illegal or unethical as written but as practiced. It can make a big difference in one’s quality of life if they are able to spot such issues and find the help they need through an experienced workplace discrimination attorney.
Workplace Discrimination: Financial Issues
Especially in the finance industry, potential employers may resist hiring anyone who has ever filed bankruptcy, experienced credit problems, or had to draw welfare or unemployment insurance. Bankruptcy discrimination in particular has created discussion, notably because several federal circuits (though not the Fourth as of this writing, which serves South Carolina) have adopted the position that bankruptcy discrimination by employers is legal, despite clear wording in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that seems to prohibit it.
Credit issues are another common financial basis often used as discrimination in the workplace. In many situations, these cases may be actionable. The reason for this is twofold: first, employers performing credit checks may do so in ways that violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and second, credit problems may often disproportionately affect women and minority groups. As such, credit history discrimination may sometimes, in reality, serve as almost proxy for racial discrimination, because so many people of color are disadvantaged by predatory lenders and substandard work opportunities.
Workplace Discrimination: Personal Characteristics
While many types of discrimination in the workplace based on characteristics are illegal, many are considered acceptable, either because they affect small numbers of people or because the characteristic in question is considered mutable (that is, it can be changed). In reality, many of the most common characteristics employers may use to discriminate can be cover for reasons that are against the law, such as race or gender.
A common example is weight discrimination. Studies have been done that point to employers viewing heavy or obese employees as less productive, lazier and less competent (despite these stereotypes being repeatedly debunked), and as such, may seek not to hire them. While discrimination based solely on weight or appearance is in theory legal, in practice what tends to occur is that women are held to different standards than men. Societal sexism demands that women not only be competent, but also attractive and conforming to socially acceptable body types. The pressure on men to be attractive does exist, but it is generally less common, and it is much less commonly tied to factors such as perceived ability to do one’s job. If it can be proven that women are being held to higher standards of dress or appearance than men, a sexual discrimination claim may be pursuable.
Consult A South Carolina Workplace Discrimination Attorney
Sometimes, discrimination may be hard to identify as such. This does not mean that you should simply permit unfair treatment if there may be a way to address it. Attorney A. Christopher Potts has many years’ experience with employment discrimination law, and is ready, willing and able to share that knowledge with you.
Contact the law firm of Hitchock and Potts today to schedule a free consultation.