What is considered workplace discrimination and when does the whistleblower law apply?

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What is considered workplace discrimination and when does the whistleblower law apply?

I was recently let go from my job of 2 years. I was told it was in no way related to my nursing skills but that the doctor did not feel comfortable working with me. This came after making known several times to my employer that the doctor was repeatedly rude and continued to hit me in the face with the exam room door while walking in to see patients. I would like to know if this is considered discrimination as well as if the whistle blower law applies.

Asked on August 15, 2011 Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Illegal discrimination is discrimination against one of a handful of specifically protected categories, such as against a racial group, religion, sex, people over age 40, or the disabled. If the behavior you describe is not motivated by your membership in one of those categories (e.g. if you're a woman, the behavior is not harassment of you as a woman or because you're a woman), then it is probably not "discrimination." People are allowed to not like other people, even in a work setting; a doctor may feel uncomfortable with a person as long as it's not due to one of the reasons above. If you think the reason for the behavior by the doctor, or your termination, is due to one of these reasons, then you may have a claim and you should consult with an employment attorney.

It's doubtful whistleblower protections would apply; they tend to apply to situations where legal, safety, or tax violations are reported, not where one individual is harassing another.


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