The Difference between Direct and Indirect Discrimination
The Difference between Direct and Indirect Discrimination

The Difference between Direct and Indirect Discrimination

Discrimination on the job is harmful and can not only negatively affect your career but can also negatively affect your overall health and well-being. While discrimination is often direct – which means a policy or practice that directly affects a specific class of employees, it can also be indirect, which means the policy or practice affects everyone in the same way, but a specific class of employees is disadvantaged by it. If you’re the victim of workplace discrimination, an experienced Bay Area workplace discrimination attorney can help.  

Direct Discrimination Defined

If you aren’t treated as well as other employees are as a result of any of the following, it’s direct workplace discrimination because you’ve been directly singled out as being a member of a protected class:

  • Your age – if over 40
  • Your race
  • Your skin color
  • Your ancestry 
  • Your national origin, including the language you speak
  • Your religion, which includes any associated dress and grooming practices 
  • Your marital status
  • Your sex or gender, which includes being pregnant, giving birth, and breastfeeding – as well as related medical conditions such as a request for pregnancy disability leave
  • Your gender identity or gender expression
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Any medical condition you have, including specific diseases like cancer, genetic characteristics, or medical history
  • Any disability you may have
  • Your military or veteran status
  • Your request for leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Both the State of California and the federal government outline protected classes, but California’s are more expansive. 

The practice in question can also be considered direct discrimination if you are perceived to be part of a protected class or you are closely associated with someone who is a member of a protected class. 

Indirect Discrimination Defined

If the policy or practice in question doesn’t single anyone out – whether in a protected class or not – it isn’t directly discriminatory, but it can be indirectly discriminatory. For example, if employees aren’t allowed to take certain dates off that happen to include a Jewish holiday, the policy indirectly discriminates against Jewish employees – even though they aren’t treated any differently than anyone else.  

Proving Discrimination

Because direct discrimination is just that – direct – it generally isn’t especially challenging to identify and defend against. When discrimination, however, is indirect, it can be far more difficult to prove and remedy. Both direct and indirect discrimination take their toll on the workplace and should not be tolerated.

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Bay Area Workplace Discrimination Attorney

Discrimination on the job can harm your career, your prospects, and your emotional well-being, and the trusted Bay Area workplace discrimination attorneys at Minnis & Smallets appreciate how challenging your situation is. Our imposing legal team recognizes the tell-tale signs of both direct and indirect discrimination and has the drive and legal insight to fight back on your behalf. You’re entitled to work in a setting in which you’re not discriminated against, and we’re well-prepared to help. Learn more about what we can do for you by reaching out and contacting us today. 

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