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Examples of indirect employment discrimination 

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | EMPLOYMENT LAW (EMPLOYEE) - Workplace Discrimination

Employment discrimination occurs when a worker is treated adversely compared to others based on a protected characteristic such as race, religion, gender and disability. Often, discrimination is blatant. For example, a worker may be paid less purely because of their gender. 

Nonetheless, discrimination is not always as blatant and direct as this. Sometimes, policies that apply to all workers disproportionately impact others in a negative way. This is called indirect discrimination, and here’s how it happens:

Indirect pregnancy discrimination 

Pregnant workers in Illinois have a host of legal protections. An employer should make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, such as allowing time off for medical appointments or allowing for flexibility in work schedules. 

If an employer implements a policy that requires all employees to work full-time hours every week, this could disproportionately impact pregnant workers and amount to indirect discrimination.  

Indirect discrimination based on nationality 

Sometimes, companies will treat qualifications from other countries as lesser. An employer may demand that only those with U.S. qualifications can be employed or progress within the business. This may put workers who are of a different nationality at a disadvantage compared to others, and policies like this may amount to indirect discrimination. 

Indirect discrimination based on religion 

It is the right of all citizens and workers in the U.S. to practice the religion of their choice. An employer cannot unreasonably obstruct this through policies. For example, if an employer demands that all workers come in on Saturdays, this could disadvantage those who view Saturdays as a day of religious observance.    

If you feel like you have been discriminated against at work, then there are options available to you. Seeking legal guidance will help to give you a better idea of what options you have.