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What is a protected class?

A protected class is a group of people identified by a certain characteristic. If you are a member of a given group and share that characteristic, it would typically be something that is essential to your personality, biology or way of life. Florida's diverse population contains many people who face employment discrimination based on their membership in protected classes. 

If you are wondering whether or not you are a member of a protected class, you are. The National Archives glossary of EEO terminology states in the definition of the term that every American is a member of a protected class. Therefore, you could potentially seek to address discrimination issues under the Equal Employment Opportunity Program, given the correct circumstances.

One potential example is if you were underutilized at work for no reason other than your protected class. These classes could include:

  • Racial history
  • Sex
  • Physical disability
  • Religious affiliation

If you were to claim discrimination, you could conceivably obtain the same chance for success that members of a different class have.

You are probably familiar with one of the most common cases of discrimination: lower pay for women in the workplace. If you were to experience this type of violation, you could conceivably bring a complaint against your employer for denying you an opportunity based on one of your protected classes: female sex.

While every protected class enjoys the benefits of the EEO, the majority of cases are founded on discrimination against historically disadvantaged classes, such as women and minorities. Please view this as educational information and not as legal advice.

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