Discrimination in the workplace is not always obvious. If your boss passes you over for a promotion, unusually singles you out or otherwise marginalizes you at work — and you are a member of a “protected class” — you might wonder if your treatment was due to discrimination.
In certain cases, this treatment may rise to the level of discrimination, and in other cases, it may not. Read on to better understand what constitutes discrimination in Colorado workplaces.
What is a “protected class?”
Discrimination based on the following criteria is illegal under Colorado law: race, color, place of origin, ancestry, creed, religion, sex, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or, under certain circumstances, marriage to a co-worker.
Naturally, a wide range of Colorado residents falls into a protected class category. However, if you are a member of one of these groups, any maltreatment you face might not necessarily constitute illegal discrimination; the poor treatment must specifically result from your membership in one of these groups.
What is an example of illegal discrimination?
Say you are a female manager at a mid-size company in Colorado, potentially in line for a promotion to a vice president position, and you notice that male colleagues with less extensive work histories are being promoted ahead of you. Such a case could well be discrimination on the basis of sex. It is useful to note, however, that if you have comparable experience, the intent to discriminate may be less clear.
Thoroughly understanding what illegal discrimination is will help you recognize the signs and be more effective in protecting yourself in the workplace.