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Employment Discrimination
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What is Employment Discrimination?

In the U.S., employment discrimination occurs whenever an employer or its representatives adversely single out employees or applicants on the basis of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion and a variety of other reasons included in the law links on the next page.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers can't discriminate against you in any aspect of employment, such as:

  • Hiring and firing
  • Compensation, assignment, or classification of employees
  • Transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall
  • Job advertisements
  • Recruitment
  • Testing
  • Use of company facilities
  • Training and apprenticeship programs
  • Fringe benefits
  • Pay, retirement plans, and disability leave

But to be "illegal" discrimination, your employer must be in violation of a specific state or Federal law (statute), regulation or constitutional provision. Otherwise, you are not generally protected from discrimination, however unfair or unethical it may seem.

For example, if your boss is much harder on you than anyone else for no apparent reason, while it might be unethical behavior for a boss, it's not discrimination by law. But if he or she is extra hard on you for a reason that's protected by law, such as your religion, age or sex, then it's illegal discrimination, especially if you suffer damage such as getting passed over for a well-deserved raise or promotion.

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"Employment Discrimination" is just a guide and not intended as legal advice. Neither the author nor publisher are engaged in rendering legal services. Please see an attorney for legal advice. Because laws vary by state, and both Federal and state laws are subject to change, neither the author nor publisher can guarantee the accuracy of this article.

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