What constitutes discrimination in the workplace?

UPDATED: Feb 10, 2011

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What constitutes discrimination in the workplace?

I am a new graduate RN and my employer is cutting jobs. I am a casualty of this but only due to having a degree and potential job opportunities. They are firing 1 person in a department of 3. I has senority and good record with them. Is this a form of discrimination?

Asked on February 10, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A common mistake is to assume that companies can't discriminate--they can, except in certain specifically prohibited ways. That is, there  is no general requirement to treat employees fairly or logically; companies can decide to fire person A instead of B for pretty much any reason except the following: there is no discrimiantion on the basis of certain protected categories, chief among which are race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability. If you think you may be terminated because of your race, religion, etc., that may be illegal job discrimination.

Also, if there  is an employment contract or union agreement, companies must follow their terms regarding firing and termination.

Apart from the above, employers are essentially free to decide who to terminate and who not.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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