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When discrimination affects you at work and at home

Unfortunately, if you are being discriminated against at work you may also be battling discrimination in other areas of your life. We frequently write about workplace discrimination scenarios that could only happen at work, such as failure to promote due to gender discrimination. However, many Americans struggle with discrimination on multiple fronts. It is important to know that you are protected by law against discrimination in a myriad of contexts.

For example, just as it is illegal for employers to deny a promotion to or fire a woman for exercising her right to maternity leave, mortgage lenders are similarly prohibited from engaging in pregnancy-related discrimination. However, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently revealed that this particular kind of lending discrimination is occurring nationwide.

Just as the Family Medical Leave Act generally protects a woman's right to take maternity leave without consequence at work, the Fair Housing Act protects Americans from lending discrimination practices rooted in familial or gender status. However, HUD has been investigating complaints related to lending discrimination based on pregnancy or maternity leave for the past few years. Its findings are disturbing.

As employees, as consumers, as patients and as patrons, Americans are protected in a variety of ways from discrimination based on protected classifications. Though not every act of discrimination is illegal, many are actionable. Therefore, if you are being discriminated against at work or in your personal life, please understand that you may have a right to seek damages. Please contact an experienced attorney with any questions you might have.

Source: New York Times, "Investigating Sex Discrimination," Lisa Prevost, Feb. 21, 2013

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