Know Your Rights, And If You’re Protected – Understanding Employment Discrimination

Employment discrimination can be a difficult topic to discuss, and many people are still not aware of their rights when it comes to workplace discrimination.

 Whether you suspect you’ve been denied a job due to your race or country of origin, or you are facing racism or sexual harassment in the workplace, you may be protected by employment discrimination laws.

 In this article, we’ll take a quick look at who is protected by employment discrimination laws – and the different types of actions that can be characterized as discrimination. Let’s get started. Continued below...













Understanding Who Is Protected By Employment Discrimination Laws

There are many different laws in place to protect employees from discrimination at work, and while seeking employment.

●     Gender discrimination – It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against potential employees and current employees due to their gender.

 ●     Age discrimination – Refusing a job applicant or treating an employee differently due to their age is unlawful.

 ●     Disability discrimination – Reasonable accommodations must be made for employees and job applicants who are disabled, due to the ADA and other disability laws.

 ●     Religious discrimination – Religion cannot be used to discriminate against potential job applicants, and mistreatment at work due to religious identity is unlawful.

 ●     Race discrimination – Discrimination based on race and ethnicity is illegal, and workplace harassment due to race may be a violation of discrimination laws.

 ●     Sexual orientation/gender identity discrimination – Currently, LGBTQ+ people are not a protected class nationwide. Only 20 states have discrimination laws for LGBTQ+ individuals.

 ●     Pregnancy discrimination – Employers may not discriminate against employees or job applicants who are pregnant.

 ●     National origin discrimination – The nation of origin may not be used to disqualify a job applicant, as long as they are a qualified and legitimate applicant for the position.

 Types Of Employment Discrimination

 Employment discrimination can take many different forms in the workplace. Here are a few common types of discrimination:

 ●     Refusal to hire – It is illegal for a company to refuse to hire an individual based on their ethnicity, gender, and other personal aspects, as listed above.

 ●     Excessive or unreasonable discipline – Discipline that is seen as unwarranted and excessive may be a form of harassment.

 ●     Termination – Termination, especially if it is suspected to be due to religion, race, ethnicity, or gender, may be cause for legal action.

 ●     Denial of training – If an employee is denied training and workplace learning opportunities due to their race, or another protected aspect of their person.

 ●     Failure to promote or advance – Employees who are overlooked for promotion or advancement based on race or gender may have a case for employment discrimination.

 ●     Lower pay or demotion – An employee who is making less money than an employee of a different race or gender, or has been demoted but performing the same tasks, may have a case for workplace discrimination.

 ●     Harassment – Harassment in the workplace, such as the use of racial slurs and offensive language, sexual harassment, or verbal harassment based on ethnicity or country of origin, is illegal.

 Understand Employment Discrimination – And If You Have A Case

 With this helpful guide to the basics of employment discrimination, you should have a much better idea of what aspects of your personal life are protected in the workplace – and if you may be able to bring legal action against a potential or previous employer.

I have also included the definition of discrimination along with links to some discrimination stories that will act as examples and hopefully help you to understand how discrimination in the workforce can happen.

There are several federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, and to be honest it can be overwhelming if you are not prepared.

Just to clarify I have covered Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination on a separate page of this website.

Definition of Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also known as the EEOC, is the Federal Agency that enforces all the below Acts.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This Act prohibits employment discrimination based on religion, race to include color, national origin, and sex.

This Act covers many institutions including private employers with fifteen or more employees.

Equal Pay Act of 1963 - also known as EPA

This Act protects male and female employees that perform substantially the same work in the same workplace from wages that are based on the sex of the employee.

Basically all employers are subject to the provisions of this Act.

Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - also known as ADA

This Act provides protection for those individuals with disabilities that are qualified to perform the work.

This Act covers many institutions including private employers with fifteen or more employees.

progressive discipline process

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 - also known as ADEA


This Act protects applicants and employees who are 40 years of age and older.

This Act covers many institutions including private employers with twenty or more employees.

Additional Definitions of Discrimination

It is critical to include a policy on discrimination in your employee handbook.

In general it is against the law to discriminate any potential employee or employee in any of the following areas;

Recruiting - Hiring - Termination - Employment Advertising - Training - Benefits - Payor Compensation - Retirement Programs - Disability or Other Types of Leave Programs - Promotions - Layoffs - Recall from Layoffs - Transfers - Assignments - and any other form or condition of employment.

It is also against the law to retaliate against someone that filed a charge of discrimination.

Additionally, you can not discriminate against someone that is married to, or has an association with any of the protected classes, or an individual with a disability.

Finally, anyone that bases an employment decision on stereotypes, or makes general assumptions about a person's abilities as it relates to the protected class's, is against the law.


Good Luck and May God Bless You and Thank you again for visiting this page on the Definition of Discrimination!


Related Topics


African American Discrimination 

Example Discrimination Story about National Origin.

Example Discrimination Story about Age 

Discrimination Stories!

Understanding the Age Discrimination Law

Discrimination Law - Be Carefull!

What to Do About Gender Discrimination In the Workplace!

Federal Discrimination Law for Employers!

Employment Racial Discrimination: Have You Been Discriminated Against?

Understanding Florida Discrimination Law

Things to Consider When Creating a Hostile Work Environment Policy

Following The Anti Discrimination Law Helps You Avoid An EEOC Claim!

Are Anti Discrimination Laws Good For Business?

Definition of Hostile Work Environment – You Be the Judge!

What Does It Take to File An EEOC Hostile Work Environment Claims?

Age Discrimination in the Workplace Is Real

What is Work Place Harassment?

Thank you for reviewing this page on the Definition of Discrimination - Return to the Home Page.