Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC


email mecontact us

Discrimination is not a joke

Someone makes a discriminatory comment to you at work, and you call them out on it. This is not the first time it's happened. You're tired of it. You tell them it's unacceptable and that you're going to file a complaint. What do they tell you in response?

Instead of apologizing, they may claim they were just joking.

It's a common defense, used by everyone from children to aging politicians. When people say something hurtful or even illegal - because workplace discrimination is illegal in the U.S. -- the fallback defense is that it was just a joke. They try to make you feel like you are the one taking it too seriously.

But discrimination is no joke. For instance, if someone comments about not wanting to work with you because of your age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or some other such factor, they could be creating a hostile workplace environment. If it's a supervisor giving you fewer hours than other workers or docking your pay, and then making the "joke" about some protected part of your identity as the reason for it, they could be telling you exactly what the real reason is.

In this example, with repeated incidents, it's even more clear that it's not a joke. Sure, someone may say something in poor taste once, not realizing how offensive it is, and then apologize. But if this is a treatment that you face every day or treatment that really impacts your career, it's clearly not a joke.

You don't have to accept these excuses. Make sure you know what legal options you have.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Request A Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC
1400 16th Street, NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

Phone: 202-745-1942
Fax: 202-745-2627
Washington Law Office Map