What qualifies as discrimination?

Workplace discrimination can be defined as negative treatment by an employer toward an employee or group of employees because of their protected class status (including race, color, age, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, pregnancy, genetic information, disability, and military and veteran status).

Discrimination also includes harassment. Under federal and state laws, it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including:

  • Hiring and firing
  • Applications and interviews
  • Working conditions
  • Compensation, assignment or classification of employees
  • Transfer, promotion, layoff or recall
  • Job advertisements
  • Recruitment
  • Testing
  • Use of company facilities
  • Participation in training and apprenticeship programs
  • Employee organization or union
  • Fringe benefits
  • Pay, retirement plans and disability leave
  • Other terms and conditions of employment

Discrimination can occur on a spectrum from casual remarks, behavior or policies that intentionally or unintentionally impact one group of employees or individuals in a negative way, to severe behavior that adversely impacts someone’s career.

Other Employment Law FAQs:

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