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When certain associations lead to discrimination

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2019 | Firm News |

Unfortunately, discrimination is a real issue that people still deal with in today’s society. In many cases, discrimination is in the workplace, and it comes in various forms.

In fact, individuals may experience for simply associating with a discriminated class. For those experiencing such unfair treatment, it is important to understand a few things.

Indirect but real

In short, discrimination is the unfair treatment of a party who fits in a protected class. A few different classes, or categories, include:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Age

When parties associate with these discriminated classes, it may lead to their own persecution. For example, a male employee may oppose another male co-worker’s discrimination against a female co-worker. The discriminating co-worker may then begin treating the male employee with discriminating intent. In other cases, parties may face discrimination for simply befriending a person part of a class that faces discrimination.

Proving it

Identifying discrimination by association falls under the same guides as discrimination of a certain class. This may include inappropriate jokes or comments, physical threats, an increase or decrease in workload or possible , amongst other things. Proving discrimination by association tends to be a bit harder because the person may not be part of a discriminated class. As in the previous example, the party defending the female co-worker and the party discriminating against her may fall within the same class. For this reason, showing supporting evidence is key.

Addressing it

Along with California’s laws against discrimination and harassment, companies have their own policies and procedures to address such acts. Employees should follow the set protocol for reporting such incidents. If it is not clear, the HR associate or department should be able to assist. Once properly reported, if corrective measures do not occur, it may be possible to seek resolution through the courts.

The first step to addressing discrimination is understanding it. Those who suspect discrimination should begin immediate documentation and collecting any evidence or witness statements as soon as possible.