In November, we discussed what kinds of discrimination active-duty armed service members may face in the workplace and what kinds of laws are in place to protect them from such behavior. Both federal and state employment law also protects Americans serving in the National Guard from both discrimination in hiring and in employment.
Though the phrase "support our troops" is outwardly affirmed by nearly all Americans, not all civilians and employers act consistently with this sentiment. In fact, veterans who have returned home from service too often experience discrimination in the workplace as a result of their previous duty.
It can be difficult to curb illegal and discriminatory practices in the private sector. It would be easy to think that it is far less difficult to execute consistently fair hiring and employment practices in the public sector.
When Mitt Romney uttered the phrase 'binders full of women' during the second presidential debate, he prompted a national discussion about pay inequity and women in the workplace. The problem of gender discrimination in hiring and employment is still real and very present in the American workplace.
Workplace discrimination can be blatant and obvious. Discrimination can also be subtle and difficult to pin down. When surveys question employees as to whether they have faced discrimination in the workplace, many ask whether or not participants perceive that they have been discriminated against or been the victims of a hostile work environment.
In 1970, 46 women rocked the business industry when they sued Newsweek Magazine. In particular, they alleged that they had been harmed by workplace gender discrimination, which was a novel thing to claim at the time. In fact, they were the first female media workers to sue as a result of discrimination based in sex or gender.
In some circles, the recent recession is referred to as the "mancession." This is because American men suffered from uncharacteristic levels of unemployment at the height of the latest economic downturn. However, it seems that it is female workers who may be suffering from a certain level of gender discrimination in hiring as the recovery process moves forward.
It has become apparent that social media is blurring the line between work and private life. Unfortunately, unless this line is clearly defined and stays fixed, it can create a multitude of problems for both employees and employers.
The Olympians dominating the news this past week have had their abilities scrutinized, critiqued and tested for all the world to see as they race, perform and compete their way toward gold. However, it is not only athletes who must have their abilities tested in order to reach significant goals. Students, professionals and average employees alike are often tested before they may advance to the next level of their given pursuits.
When being interviewed for a potential job, it is not always easy to know whether hiring personnel are crossing the line or not when they seek to ask personal questions. Potential employers are not allowed to ask questions that are discriminatory with regards to protected characteristics. For example, they may not ask questions which might cause them to discriminate against you based on your religion, race, nationality or age.