What characteristics are protected from discrimination and harassment?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2020 | Employment Discrimination |

Many employers and employees know it is illegal to discriminate. Unfortunately, that does not stop all workplace harassment and discrimination. Anyone can face these hardships, though many cases occur due to certain characteristics. 

There are several classifications outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC lists these characteristics as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability and genetic information. 

Race/color, religion and national origin 

The law protects those of all races, colors and religions. Race/color discrimination is any unfair treatment based on skin color or race-associated characteristics, like hair texture or facial features. The law also provides protection to those with sincerely held religious or moral beliefs, whether from major organized religions or another, lesser-known creed. 

Sometimes, national origin, race and religion may overlap. But even if a person does not appear physically different, they can still face discrimination. 

Age, disability and genetics 

The law protects persons over 40 from unfair firing, pay, promotions, and many other employment aspects. Some states have protections for those under 40, as well. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects most people with a disability. Employers must provide reasonable accommodation to a disabled person unless they can prove it would cause the business undue hardship. Furthermore, an employer cannot discriminate based on a person’s risk of getting a genetic disease. 

Discrimination based on sex 

Sex discrimination covers many characteristics, including gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. Pregnancy discrimination may fall into this category. 

Many cases of harassment are sexual in nature, but they do not have to be. Harassment can include offensive comments about sexuality or sex characteristics, too. 

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