What Is Employment Discrimination?

One employee being picked out from the rest
Employment discrimination is a major employee rights issue in Florida and all over the United States. It happens across industries and at all levels of professional experience.

Were you passed up for a promotion due to your age or race?

Are you not making the same rate of pay as your colleagues due to your gender?

Among many, these are common forms of employment discrimination that employees face on a daily basis. Employment lawyers fight for the rights of employees every day to hold employers accountable, seek justice, and get the lives and careers of those who have been discriminated against back on track.

What is employment discrimination? Wondering what are the different forms? Information is power for Florida employees.



Employment discrimination occurs when a job applicant or employee is treated unfavorably due to a protected category listed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Most employers that have at least 15 employees (20 for age discrimination) are covered by different EEOC laws including:

These laws make it illegal to discriminate against an employee due to the corresponding factors. These laws, as well as state laws like the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, protect workers from discrimination and are used to stop the illegal practice and behaviors and pursue justice.



Employment discrimination, unfortunately, comes in many forms.

Although there are some laws in place protecting employees from such acts, there are certain employers who are not as confined as others to meet these requirements. State laws and federal laws
have been created to prohibit discrimination in the workplace and serve to protect employees by creating “protected” categories to which an employer must adhere. Here are the forms of employment discrimination:

examples of employment discrimination at work

An employer is prohibited by law to discriminate against an employee based off any of these categories.



Different types of actions and behaviors are protected against by the EEOC and federal and states laws. These can include:

Harassment — abusive or offensive language or actions due to gender, race, sexual orientation, age, or another protected status

Unfair Treatment — a broad category that can include not receiving a promotion, receiving less pay for equal work, required work outside of the scope of your position (ex: heavy lifting), or other types of unfair treatment due to religion, disability/medical condition, or gender identity, or another protected status

Improper Disclosure of Information or Questions — in regards to medical information or genetic information

Retaliation — an action taken against a person (such as being fired, demoted, etc.) after a complaint of employee discrimination or being part of an investigation, proceeding or lawsuit

Denial of a Legal Workplace Accommodation — an example of this could be a need for a change due to a disability or religious affiliation

Have you been sexually harassed at work? Were you fired after filing a complaint of race discrimination? Both of these are examples of types of employment discrimination that are against the law and should never be tolerated.

guide to employment discrimination in the workplace

EEOC Complaint Statistics

In 2017, the EEOC received tens of thousands of complaints in multiple categories of discrimination in the workplace. The top five categories of complaints were:

  • Retaliation: 41,097
  • Race: 28,528
  • Disability: 26,838
  • Sex: 25,605
  • Age: 18,376

These statistics represent 2017 only! Thousands of other complaints were filed in other categories as well. Suffice it to say — know that you are not alone in experiencing harassment and other types of discrimination. There are many others just like you who took action to hold employers accountable, fight for justice, and make the offenders stop their unlawful behavior. You have legal rights.



Many times, the burden of proof is placed on the employee to prove that discrimination actually took place. Therefore, it is essential that all events are documented accurately and comprehensively.

If you believe you are experiencing workplace discrimination, be sure to save and provide as much evidence as possible, such as:

how to prove employment discrimination

    • Emails
    • Text messages
    • Job Evaluations

A journal, documenting the events with specific dates, times, those involved and any witnesses

  • Recordings – audio or video



The information that you gather can be reviewed and used by an attorney to assist in proving your discrimination case. Depending on the particular circumstances, an employment law attorney will utilize the documentation to help you potentially:

  • Get a job reinstatement with the same salary and benefits
  • Receive back pay
  • Receive monetary damages due to the employment discrimination
  • Receive additional compensatory damages

When faced with possible discrimination, such as being terminated due to your sexual orientation or age, the best advice is to contact an attorney and see if you have a viable case. An employment law attorney can assist in determining if the action was taken due to a legitimate business decision or due to discrimination.



Due to the complexities of employment law, it is important to consult with an attorney that has extensive expertise and experience to determine the appropriate way to proceed for the best possible outcome. There are a number of legal options and trying to proceed without an attorney is not recommended. Employers typically have dedicated lawyers (or teams of lawyers) and you have the right to legal representation to fight for your rights and pursue justice due to discrimination in the workplace.

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When private negotiation, mediation, and arbitration are not effective, we are trial lawyers — we do not hesitate to try our cases.

If you feel you have fallen victim to employment discrimination, contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa P.A.for your free, confidential consultation. We have helped thousands of others just like you and you don’t have to go through this alone.


Other employment discrimination articles:

Guide to Understanding Employment Discrimination

6 Florida Employment Discrimination Laws You Need to Know

3 Things You Need to Prove Your Employment Discrimination Case

Employment Discrimination: Are You Part of a Protected Group?

3 Examples of Common Employment Discrimination that Might Surprise You

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