Work discrimination happens when an employee or job candidate is treated unfavorably based on characteristics protected by law. This can occur even if the offending behavior is not necessarily directed towards a single person. For instance:
Any job-related decision made by an employer that is based on the following protected characteristics is considered discrimination:
Most workplace discrimination claims are related to retaliation, which occurs when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in an activity protected by law—for example, filing a complaint about worker rights, asserting worker rights, inquiring about pay or work hours, filing for workers’ comp, informing the police about illegal practices, etc. In those situations, retaliation by an employer could be demoting, relocating, or wrongfully terminating the employee, giving an unsatisfactory job reference, etc.
Other leading causes of discrimination claims include discrimination against sex, race, disability, age, national origin, color, and lastly, religion, per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC). Any individual who believes their employment rights have been violated can file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC), or a state administrative agency. Alternatively, an individual, agency, or organization can file a claim on behalf of the victim to protect their identity.
To file a workplace discrimination complaint with the THRC, you must do so within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act, and you have the following options to do:
After submitting, a copy of your complaint form and any documents you attach to it, except for a witness list, will be forwarded to your employer you are alleging discriminated against you. Your employer will have the chance to respond to the allegations, and a THRC investigator will investigate your complaint. However, if it has been more than 180 days since the alleged incident of discrimination took place, you must file an employment discrimination complaint with the EEOC instead.