Serving Clients in Rhode Island & Massachusetts

Fairness and equality are fundamental rights in the workplace, yet employment discrimination, unfortunately, remains widespread. If you find yourself facing such challenges, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. With a clear understanding of what constitutes discrimination, you can identify wrongful actions and seek the rightful remedies. Herman Law Group is dedicated to protecting workers’ rights in Rhode Island, offering guidance and support to those impacted by these unjust practices.

What Is Employment Discrimination?

Employment discrimination occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfavorably because of characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. This unjust treatment can manifest in various aspects of employment, including hiring decisions, salary allocation, promotions, job assignments, and conditions of employment. It’s not always overt; sometimes, discrimination is subtle yet equally damaging, affecting an individual’s career growth and workplace environment. Recognizing these actions as discriminatory is the first step towards addressing and rectifying them. 

Types of Employment Discrimination

  • Race Discrimination: Treating an individual unfavorably because of their race or characteristics associated with race, such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features.
  • Gender Discrimination: Occurs when an employee faces unfair treatment or harassment based on their gender affecting their career progression and workplace environment.
  • Age Discrimination: Involves prejudicial actions against employees or job applicants who are 40 years old or older, limiting their employment opportunities and advancements.
  • Disability Discrimination: Unfair treatment of individuals with disabilities, failing to provide reasonable accommodations, or making employment decisions based on their disability status.
  • Religious Discrimination: Involves treating employees unfavorably because of their religious beliefs, practices, or requests for accommodations related to their religious practices.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination: Discriminating against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy, affecting her job security and opportunities.
  • National Origin Discrimination: Unfair treatment of employees because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background.

Your Rights Under Rhode Island Law

In Rhode Island, employees are protected under state and federal laws from discrimination in the workplace. The Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, disability, national origin, or ancestry. Beyond state protections, federal statutes such as the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Age Discrimination in Employment Act offer further layers of security. Understanding these rights is essential for employees to recognize illegal treatment and take action. 

Signs You May Be a Victim of Discrimination 

Understanding the subtle and overt signs of workplace discrimination is vital in safeguarding your rights. You might suspect discrimination if you experience unexplained poor evaluations or reviews, particularly if they deviate sharply from previous feedback without a clear reason. Being systematically excluded from meetings, projects, or professional development opportunities where you would normally expect inclusion can also signal discriminatory practices. Other strong indicators include demotion, reduction in work hours, or termination that seems unjustified or without transparency. 

Subtler signs could manifest as a noticeable change in treatment from management or colleagues after revealing personal information related to protected characteristics or consistently being overlooked for promotions in favor of individuals who appear less qualified but do not share your protected characteristics. Trusting your instincts is important—if something feels unfair, it might well be. Taking note of these experiences and seeking professional advice are crucial steps toward confronting potential discrimination.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Discrimination 

If you suspect discrimination at work, taking prompt and strategic steps is essential. First, document every incident, including dates, times, witnesses, and details of conversations or actions that felt discriminatory. Following your company’s procedures, report these concerns to your human resources department or a designated manager. Reviewing your employee handbook or company policies regarding discrimination is also wise. Consult an attorney focusing on employment law to understand your rights and options. Legal professionals can offer guidance on how to proceed, whether through formal complaints with entities like the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights or potentially pursuing legal action. Acting quickly is important, as there are often time limits for filing complaints.

Contact an Experienced Employment Discrimination Attorney

At Herman Law Group, we’re dedicated to championing your rights in the face of employment discrimination. Our experienced team offers personalized legal strategies, advocacy, and support throughout your case. Don’t navigate this alone—contact us for a confidential consultation and let us stand up for you.

Herman Law Group is based in Providence but offers its services nationwide. We help clients throughout Rhode Island, including Bristol County, Kent County, Washington County, Providence County, Warwick, & Cranston. Additionally, the firm its extends expertise in Attleboro and across the rest of Massachusetts.