Unfair labor practices can make an employee’s entire life miserable and potentially lead to a lower income, stalling career, and unhappy home life. Unfair treatment does not always qualify as an illegal act. However, if you experience discrimination, a hostile work environment, or harassment, you could have grounds for filing a lawsuit and seeking compensation.
Examples of unfair labor practices in the workplace include denying benefits or promotions to specific employees, discriminating against older workers, unequal pay, and many others. Discrimination is not only morally wrong; it is also illegal. You do not have to accept unfair labor practices at your job. Our labor attorneys are here to help you fight back. Contact us now for a free case review.
Common Examples of Unfair Labor Practices in the Workplace
Unfair labor practices can impact employees’ morale negatively and lead to lower productivity. Examples of unfair treatment in the workplace can include:
- Excluding specific employees from work meetings or trips
- Firing older workers to replace them with younger and cheaper employees
- Unequal pay for employees in the same job
- Making offensive comments directed at certain employees
- Denying company benefits or bonuses to specific employees
There can be many other examples of unfair labor practices. Unfair treatment at work can involve subtle actions. However, if you suffer from illegal discrimination at work, you could potentially take legal action.
When Are Unfair Labor Practices Illegal?
While devastating for those affected, unfair labor practices are not always illegal. However, in some cases, unfair treatment amounts to discrimination, which is unlawful. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that discrimination arises when an employee is treated unfairly based on race, sex, age, disability, or another protected characteristic.
Examples of Illegal Discrimination in the Workplace
Illegal discrimination can arise in many different circumstances. However, to have a legal case against an employer, the unfair treatment must be aimed at members of a protected class. For example, adverse employment action concerning only older or disabled employees, or those of a certain color or race, can be illegal. Some examples of unlawful treatment of employees in a protected category include:
- Not making reasonable accommodations for disabled employees
- Failing to promote employees
- Demoting or terminating pregnant employees
- Excluding certain candidates during the recruitment process
- Denying benefits to certain employees
- Treating employees differently when assigning maternity or disability leave
Most Commonly Reported Workplace Discrimination
Discrimination at work is not only unlawful, but it is also emotionally distressing for an employee and can have devastating consequences on their work and home life. A victim may underperform at work or even see their career derailed due to unlawful discrimination. According to the EEOC, the five most commonly reported forms of workplace discrimination in 2020 include:
Protection From Unfair Labor Practices and Discrimination
Various state and federal laws protect us from unfair labor practices and discrimination in the workplace, including:
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
In a nutshell, the federal laws mentioned above offer protection to members of a protected class such as:
Workers aged 40 and older are protected from adverse employment actions based on their age, such as wrongful termination, being denied job training, or missing out on promotions and company benefits.
Employees must not be treated differently due to their race. According to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1981, unfair labor practices based on an employee’s race are illegal.
Disabled employees are treated similarly to other protected categories and must not be discriminated against based on their disability. Additionally, disabled individuals are entitled to reasonable workplace accommodation to help them carry out their job.
Sex discrimination and unfair labor practices based on an employee’s gender are illegal, including unequal pay for the same work, sexual harassment, denial of promotions or benefits, and other discriminatory acts.
While most complaints are filed with the EEOC due to the aforementioned protected classes, there can be many other examples of unfair labor practices in the workplace. For instance, employees must not experience discrimination based on their religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, and other protected categories.
If you are unsure whether you experienced unfair labor practices, we can help. Our compassionate employment attorneys can walk you through your legal options for getting justice.
Employees’ Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) seeks to protect the rights of employees, including the rights to:
- Organize into trade unions
- Engage in collective bargaining (negotiating wages and employment conditions)
- Take collective action such as strikes
Among other provisions, the act protects employees from unfair labor practices by employers. An employer is acting unlawfully if they try to prohibit protected activities, threaten workers, or coerce employees to refrain from exercising their rights. Employees are also protected from getting fired, demoted, or suspended due to engaging in a protected activity, such as a strike or joining a union. If you experienced unfair labor practices, consider seeking legal advice to clarify your next best steps.