Topic of the Week Discrimination Claims: How does the law define discrimination
What federal laws protect against discrimination:
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
What are the types of discrimination claims:
- Discriminatory intent/treatment
- Disparate impact
What is discrimination?
There are several federal laws that protect you from discrimination in the workplace. Each federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against certain categories of people, known as protected classes. Not all types of discrimination are protected under the federal laws. The federal anti-discrimination laws only protect you if you fall into a protected class or category. The protected classes differ under the various federal laws and are summarized below.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.Title VII also makes it illegal to discriminate against women because of pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of age. This law protects people who are 40 or older.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 make it illegal to discriminate against a person with a disability.
Some state and local laws also make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of gender identity, immigration status, language, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, and/or genetic information. These laws vary widely by state and locality.
What are the different types of discrimination claims?
If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your status as a member of a protected class or category, there may be several types of claims that you could bring.
A discriminatory intent, or discriminatory treatment claim is when an employee is treated worse by an employer because of his or her status as a member of protected class or category.
A disparate impact claim is a type of discrimination based on the effect of an employment policy, rule or practice rather than the intent behind it. The anti-discrimination laws make it illegal for a seemingly neutral policy, rule or practice to have a disproportionate adverse affect on members of a protected class. For example, a strength requirement might screen out disproportionate numbers of female applicants for a job, or requiring all applicants to receive a certain score on a standardized test to be eligible for a promotion could adversely affect candidates of color.
A retaliation claim is when an employer retaliates against an employee who engages in conduct that the law protects, like making a complaint about discrimination, or reporting a safety hazard.