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Types of Employment Discrimination

Discrimination in the Workplace

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Types of Employment Discrimination
Copyright Keith Brofsky / Getty Images

Workplace discrimination occurs when an individual is adversely discriminated against due to any number of factors. These types of discrimination include biased practices based on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Skin Color
  • National Origin
  • Mental or Physical Disability
  • Genetic Information
  • Relationship to someone who may be discriminated against
  • Pregnancy or Parenthood

Age Discrimination
Age discrimination is a practice specifically protected by law. With a few rare exceptions, companies are forbidden from specifying an age preference is job advertisements. Employees must receive the same benefits regardless of age, the only exception being when the cost of providing supplemented benefits to young workers is the same as providing reduced benefits to older workers.

Also, age discrimination in apprenticeship programs or internship opportunities is illegal.

Religious Discrimination
It is illegal for employers to discriminate based on an individual's religious beliefs. Businesses are required to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs, as long as doing so doesn't have excessive negative consequences.

Gender Discrimination
When paying a salary to men and women of the same qualifications, responsibility, skill and position, employers are forbidden to discriminate on the basis of gender. Also, businesses are forbidden from lowering one gender's salary in order to equalize pay between men and women.

Additionally, pregnancy-based discrimination is illegal. Employers are require to handle pregnancy in the same way that they would handle a temporary illness or other temporary condition that would necessitate special consideration.

Employment Discrimination Complaints
Under United States laws, companies are prohibited to subject employees to unfair treatment or blatant discrimination based on these legally protected characteristics. Also, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a person who has filed a complaint about discrimination or participated in an investigation.

While not all unfavorable treatment constitutes unlawful discrimination, any employee who believes that he or she has experienced workplace discrimination can file a complaint with the EEOC (The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Here's how to file an employment discrimination claim.

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