Why does workplace discrimination keep happening?

It’s very clear under modern labor laws that workplace discrimination is illegal. The law has established certain protected classes, such as race, age, religion and pregnancy status. These are just a few examples, but discriminating against employees within these classes is prohibited.

Even so, reports show that workplace discrimination is still very common. It happens every day. Thousands of workers are impacted, and many experts claim that they are just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of discrimination goes unreported, so the statistics will always be a little bit low. Why is it that discrimination continues happening, even though it is illegal?

Some misunderstandings

First off, there are some cases in which discrimination is just a misunderstanding or an honest mistake. For instance, did you know that a job posting looking to hire recent college graduates may be an example of age discrimination? Some employers may discriminate without realizing they’re doing so, and it just needs to be brought to their attention.

The law doesn’t change people’s minds

But the big problem is that some employers still choose to discriminate. It used to be very common. It has now been illegal since the 1960s, but that doesn’t necessarily change how people feel. A business owner who wants to discriminate against African-American employees or who doesn’t want to hire women may just find other excuses. This means that discrimination isn’t as overt today as it used to be, but it may still be happening in more subtle ways.

As a result, workers who feel they have been discriminated against must understand all their legal options.


super lawyers
New York County Lawyers Association
New York City Bar
NELA Advocates for Employee Rights National Employment Lawyers Association
lead counsel lc verified