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What Are The Protected Classes Under Discrimination Laws?



Discrimination is not as easily defined as a person may believe at first glance. Even if a boss dislikes someone for his or her personality and treats the person in an unfair manner as a result, this may not be enough evidence for a discrimination claim. To file a valid discrimination claim, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) requires that a person's discrimination fall within one of eleven categories. 

Determining Your Protected Class

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has heavily influenced the way that courts determine the protected groups under discrimination laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents discrimination in educational facilities and public workplaces. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a person may not be discriminated against due to the following:

  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Ethnic Background
  • Religious Beliefs
  • Sexual Orientation

Specific Examples Of Discrimination

In each particular protected class under discrimination laws, people tend to face common forms of discrimination. For example:

  • People who are discriminated against for their national origin tend to be treated unfavorably due to their heritage or country of original citizenship.
  • A person may face discrimination if an employer requires him or her to speak English in the workplace.An employer may only enforce this requirement if speaking English is required for effectively performing job tasks in the workplace.
  • Also, an employer may not fire an employee due to the foreign accent that he or she has.
  • A person of a particular sexual orientation may experience discrimination if the workplace environment becomes hostile as a result of teasing or offensive comments.
  • If a victim is fired or demoted due to his or her sexual orientation, then this is another example of discrimination.

Discrimination Lawyers For Your Case

Discrimination lawyers will advocate for you in your discrimination case. When you feel like your workplace has become hostile as a result of teasing or inappropriate comments aimed at your sexual orientation, then you may have a valid discrimination claim against your employer.