Discrimination is adverse work treatment of an employee or prospective employee based on a class or category of which the employee is a member. This is differentiated from employment treatment that is based on the employee's individual merit.
Discrimination in the workplace is the act of treating a particular group or person differently based solely on a protected classification. Discrimination in employment is illegal according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Workplace discrimination is prohibited by law on the basis of the following characteristics. While state laws may differ, the federal laws prohibit discrimination in employment for:
Growing in popularity in various states and at the Federal level are laws, law suits and opinions that discrimination in the workplace should be prohibited also for sexual orientation, weight, and genetic information.
Employment practices that are considered to be discrimination involve any biased behavior in employee selection, hiring, job assignment, compensation, promotion, employment termination, setting wages and compensation, testing, training, apprenticeships, internships, retaliation, and various types of harassment that are based on these protected classifications.
Additional protections exist against discrimination under Federal laws. Protections from discrimination include the following.
- Harassment in employment settings of people based on age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or genetic information is prohibited.
- Retaliation against a person for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation of alleged discrimination, or opposing discriminatory practices is prohibited.
- Employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about people who are included in any of the classifications are prohibited.
- Employment opportunities may not be denied to a person based on their relationship to or association with any individual who is protected under these classifications.
Oversight of Employment Discrimination
These discrimination laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC also provides oversight, guidelines, and coordination of Federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies.