Discrimination of any form is illegal in the workplace. Employers must treat everyone equally. Of course, skills, experience and other job-specific details may place employees on an uneven field, but all things considered, the general rule is your employer cannot make different rules for you than it does for other employees.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. You may not even realize some acts fall under this definition.
Discrimination and equal employment laws protect you against harassment. This is any type of action that continuously occurs over a period of time that makes you uncomfortable or creates a hostile work environment.
Unequal treatment means having different rules for different people. For example, if your employer requires all black males to shave their heads but does not require that of employees from other races, this is discrimination due to race. Another example would be allowing one employee time off to go to doctor’s appointments for a health issue, but refusing to allow a pregnant employee the same time off for her doctor’s visits.
Discrimination can also happen during hiring. Asking certain questions that the employer could use against you would be discrimination, such as asking what year you graduated from high school or what church you attend.
Retaliation is when your employer punishes you for reporting discrimination or exercising your rights under the law. It could take many forms, such as reducing your work hours, refusing raises or creating an uncomfortable workspace so you will quit.
Keep in mind that the law only protects you for actions against you due to certain criteria, which include gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, race, color and religion.