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Welcome to the STRUGZ platform where life principles, careers, and business tips are shared. When an employee is treated somewhat differently from other employees on grounds not supported by contract or that are indeed in conflict with the law such worker is said to have been discriminated against. This week's edition sheds light on the types of discrimination that occurs in the workplace and the solution to it.

Everyone has the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment, bullying, and discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, and religion violates someone’s right to be treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.

Bullying, harassment, and or discrimination can damage the affected person’s well-being, work performance, and job security, and it can be destructive to a business by creating a negative workplace culture.

It can expose an employer’s business to direct liability, where the business engaged in the discrimination, or vicarious liability for the discrimination engaged in by one of their employees where the employer cannot show that they (the employer) took reasonable steps to prevent that discrimination from happening.

Discrimination happens when you are treated less favorably than others because of a personal attribute about you rather than your ability to do the job.

It is unlawful to discriminate against someone due to their protected attributes:

1. Race, color, national extraction, or social origin

2. Sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation

3. Age

4. Physical, intellectual, mental, or psychiatric disability

5. Pregnancy or potential pregnancy

6. Marital status, relationship status, and family responsibilities

7. Religion

8. Political opinion

9. Trade union activity

Examples of discrimination occurring in the workplace can include:

1. Job refusal

2. Being dismissed or having shifts cut down

3. Denial of training opportunities, transfers, and promotions

4. Not being paid the same as someone doing the same job with the same experience and qualifications

5. Exclusion or isolation by co-workers

6. Having the information you need to do your job deliberately withheld

7. Being given impossible tasks

8. Being subjected to taunts or abuse that references the protected attribute

Discrimination may be intentional or unintentional, direct or indirect. Discrimination can come in the form of jokes and offhand comments that seem harmless to or even go unnoticed by the perpetrator.

The below examples show some of the different ways in which discrimination can occur in the workplace.

· Mary is six months pregnant. After ten years of working at an accounting firm, she applies for a senior position that has just opened up. Despite having more experience and qualifications than the other applicants, she was passed over. When she asked the manager, he said: “I need someone who will be more dedicated to the position.”

· Ryan works on a construction site. His co-workers recently found out he was gay and have started calling him “princess”.

· Annie works in a toy store and has a physical disability preventing her from carrying heavy items. She recently found out her co-workers earn more than her despite having the same experience and working just as hard. When she asked her manager about it, she said it was because “you just don’t carry as much weight around here.”

It’s important to ensure that employers foster a positive workplace culture that is free of harassment, bullying, and discrimination. At STRUGZ, our specialist workplace lawyers use their extensive experience in HR legal issues to help minimize the risk of discrimination. We assist with the preparation of specific policies and can deliver training or inductions.

We can also help employees who have experienced discrimination, harassment, or bullying at work, and employers who have received claims or complaints from employees.

Contact our team of employment lawyers today for a no-obligation initial consultation.

Contact no: +234 (0) 805 842 4788


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