Types Of Employment Discrimination

Race and Color Discrimination

Discrimination on the basis of race involves denying equal employment opportunity to any person because that person is of a particular race or has personal characteristics associated with a particular race (e.g., hair texture, facial features). Discrimination on the basis of color involves denying equal employment opportunity to any person because of that person’s skin color or complexion. Race or color discrimination also may include treating a person unfavorably because of his or her association with someone or some group generally associated with a particular race or color (e.g., marriage).

Race and color discrimination could take the form of refusing to hire, discharging, failing to promote, harassing, or discriminating against a person with respect to any other term, condition or privilege of employment.

National Origin Discrimination

Discrimination on the basis of national origin involves denying equal employment opportunity to any person because that person is from a different country or part of the world, or because of ethnicity or accent, or because that person is perceived to be of a particular ethnicity. In some circumstances, national origin discrimination may involve discrimination based on unjustified English-fluency requirements and English-only rules and policies. It also may include treating a person unfavorably because of his or her association with someone or some group generally associated with a particular national origin (e.g., civic or cultural organization).

National origin discrimination could take the form of refusing to hire, discharging, failing to promote, harassing, or discriminating against a person with respect to any other term, condition or privilege of employment.

Sex Discrimination

Discrimination on the basis of sex involves denying equal employment opportunity to any individual because of that individual’s sex. Sex discrimination includes treating an individual unfavorably because the individual is pregnant, or based on gender stereotypes, or based on a person's failure to conform to gender stereotypes.  Sex discrimination also includes treating an individual less favorably because of that individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  Sex discrimination also may include treating a person unfavorably because of the person's association with someone or some group generally associated with a particular sex.  Sex discrimination could take the form of refusing to hire, discharging, failing to promote, harassing, or discriminating against an individual with respect to any other term, condition or privilege of employment. These actions violate Title VII when they are based in part, or entirely, on the protected characteristics described above.

Religious Discrimination

Discrimination on the basis of religion involves denying equal employment opportunity to any person because of that person’s sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs. An employer must make reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs, observances or practices unless doing so would cause undue hardship on the employer.

Religious discrimination could take the form of refusing to hire, discharging, failing to promote, harassing, or discriminating against a person with respect to any other term, condition or privilege of employment. It also may include treating a person unfavorably because of his or her association with someone or some group generally associated with a particular religion (e.g., religious institution).

Military Status Discrimination

Discrimination on the basis of military status involves denying equal employment opportunity to any person because of that person’s past, current or future membership, service or obligation in a uniformed service. An employer must reemploy a person who leaves employment for specified time periods for military deployment, service or training unless the employer can prove a statutory defense. Military status discrimination could take the form of refusing to hire, failing to reemploy, discharging, failing to promote, harassing, or discriminating against a person with respect to any other term, condition or privilege of employment.

Retaliation

Discrimination on the basis of retaliation involves taking an adverse action against a person because that individual has opposed a discriminatory employment practice (e.g., race discrimination, military status discrimination), has complained about discrimination, or has assisted in the investigation of a complaint of discrimination. Retaliation could take the form of refusing to hire, discharging, failing to promote, harassing, or discriminating against a person with respect to any other term, condition or privilege of employment.

Updated March 10, 2021

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