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The many ways of being discriminated against in the workplace

Being discriminated against in the workplace on the grounds of age, race, religion, disability or gender are just some of the protected statuses addressed by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC established guidelines to protect the classes of workers. In addition to federal law, Michigan also prohibits unlawful discrimination. In fact, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created to not only identify, but also rectify, violations of Michigan's unlawful discrimination laws.

Some of the more common types of discrimination the MDCR is asked to investigate involve not only religious, sex, disability, race and age discrimination, but suspected cases of unlawful treatment based on factors, including a person's:

-- Height

-- Weight

-- Health status

-- Genetic factors

-- Marital status

-- National origin

-- Arrest history

Workplace discrimination can occur even prior to becoming employed with a company. Hiring decisions can fall into that category. Harassment or inequitable treatment, being deserving of — yet not receiving — a promotion or not receiving proper representation at a grievance hearing can also be forms of employee discrimination.

When it comes to vocational training, not being admitted to a program that one would otherwise qualify for is also considered discriminatory. Along the same vein, being denied membership into or being expelled from a labor organization without just cause also raise red flags.

If you suspect that you've been discriminated against in your workplace, you might find that speaking with an employment law attorney will serve you well. He or she can go over your rights and responsibilities relating to filing a Michigan Civil Rights Commission claim and potentially recovering damages against your employer.

Source: Michigan Department of Civil Rights, "For victims of unlawful descrimination," accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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