No matter where or why it happens, discrimination is ugly and illegal. If you feel you're the object of this hateful and ignorant treatment, don't take it lightly. Find out how you are protected under the law and hire an attorney to stop the mistreatment, immediately.

Define Discrimination

Discrimination is legally defined as unfair or unequal treatment for whatever reason someone chooses to treat you differently. Whether you're turned down for a job, scholarship or the cake you want at a local bakery, nobody has the right to treat you any differently than the rest of the population. Although there are many ways someone can break the laws in place to protect against discrimination, this offense generally falls into a few specific categories:

  • Religious discrimination includes anyone mocking your beliefs, treating you differently because of them or denying you the right to practice your religion.
  • Gender discrimination means you're not given the same benefits and opportunities, based on your gender.
  • Racial discrimination is being treated as a lesser person (than those of other races), due to your color or country of origin.
  • Age discrimination occurs when you're denied a position, promotion or other allowance, specifically because you're "too old."

Distinguish Harassment

Harassment differs from discrimination, although the two can intersect both in practice and the eyes of the law. Nobody has the right to harass you about anything, just as they can't treat you unfairly based on how you look, dress, think, worship or anything else you do. Harassment or bullying should never be tolerated, no matter what form it comes in:

  • Sexual harassment includes any advances made toward you sexually, comments, jokes and other offensive gestures or statements.
  • General harassment pertains to being treated in a way that is humiliating, fear-inducing, embarrassing or upsetting for any number of reasons, such as the way you look or talk, your beliefs or preferences.

Speak Up About It

As soon as you inform someone that they're doing something you find offensive, they should stop, but that doesn't always happen. Respect for fellow humans, unfortunately, isn't a habit for some individuals and you need to speak up about it. Identify how they make you feel and bring it to their attention (the person doing it), first, and if that doesn't yield positive results, go directly to the person's supervisor. If the harassment or discrimination is occurring in a school setting, you should seek out a teacher, principal or other figure of authority.

If your initial complaints aren't effective, start documenting the incidents; you're going to have to take the matter to a higher source, in order to get the discrimination or harassment to stop.

Take Legal Action

When your requests for fair and respectable treatment are ignored, you don't have to just take it in stride. The laws are designed to protect everyone, especially those being unjustly persecuted. Take your documentation, including any recordings you may have made, to discrimination law services such as Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. They will tell you immediately if and how your civil rights have been violated and help you put an end to it, including seeking retribution, if applicable.

Move on with Your Life

It can be challenging to get over discrimination of any form, particularly if you are afraid it's just going to happen again at the next job, school or other setting. Discrimination eventually changes how you look at others and how you approach life itself. Find someone to talk to about what's happened to you, be it a professional therapist who can help you psychologically situate after such treatment or people in a support group, who have been treated badly for no reason, just like you.