What is Marital Discrimination? - Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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What is Marital Discrimination?

When most people think about discrimination, they think about race, religion, age, and sex. However, there are so many different types of discrimination that it can be hard to figure out what is truly discrimination and what isn’t. 

So, what is marital discrimination? 

Marital discrimination is when an employee is treated unfairly because of his or her marital status. This could be because they are single, married, widowed, divorced, or something similar. If someone is in a domestic partnership, they could also feel discriminated against. 

What does marital discrimination look like in the workplace? 

Unwilling to hire or promote someone due to their marital status. Some companies want to hire young people who are single. They may feel like they have more time to work, without all of the obligations at home that come with marriage and a family. However, employers are not allowed to choose an employee to hire or promote based on their marital status. 

Paying employees differently, due to their marital status. All employees should be paid fairly, depending on their experience and job title. 

Holding a spouse accountable for the actions and beliefs of their spouse (or former one). Employers can’t make decisions based on their employees’ spouses. Just because they are very political, doesn’t mean that employers can hold that against their employees. Even if they act out in a way that the employers don’t appreciate, they can’t do anything about it or they would be facing legal action. 

Not hiring someone because their spouse already works at the company. Employers can’t have a policy in place where they can’t hire people who are married. There is nothing wrong with spouses working side by side.

However, this one can be a bit tricky. It can be a conflict of interest and a lawyer might need to be consulted. Spouses shouldn’t be supervising their partners. Other companies don’t want spouses working side-by-side in case they bring their drama to work. They may hire them for another department. Employees will be more productive when they aren’t working with their spouses. 

Terminating a spouse because their spouse quit. Just because one spouse doesn’t want to work for a company, doesn’t mean that the other one needs to. In fact, if the employer terminates the other one, it could be considered discrimination. 

Not standing beside an employee going through domestic violence. Any employee who is struggling in a relationship that could be considered domestic violence deserves to have an employer who is willing to stand beside him or her. They deserve time off of work to take care of themselves and deal with their situation, without worrying about whether or not they will have a job to come back to. 

No employee deserves to be discriminated against due to their marital status, including whether they are single, married, or divorced. They shouldn’t be afraid of losing a job or a promotion because they are or are not married. They also deserve to be paid fairly, for what they are worth. A tricky situation involves husbands and wives (or domestic partners) working together. While some companies have a policy where they can’t work closely together, others just won’t allow one to supervise the other. Employers also can’t terminate a spouse just because their spouse quit. 

If you feel like you are being discriminated against because of your marital status, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We will be glad to sit down with you to discuss your options to make sure that you are being treated fairly. We are proud to side with employees to make sure that they are being treated the way that they deserve to be.