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EEO Training Sheet>> Discrimination in the Workplace
Discrimination in any aspect of employment is illegal and employees are protected from such conduct under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963.
Black’s Law Dictionary defines discrimination as the failure to treat all persons equally where no reasonable distinction can be found between those favored and those who are not favored. In other words, discrimination is the unfair treatment or denial of standard privileges of employment (such as benefits, working hours, pay increases, transfers, or promotions) based on one’s race, age, sex, nationality, pregnancy, religion, marital or veteran status, or handicap whether physical or mental.
Discrimination is prohibited in all phases of employment including:
> hiring and firing;
> compensation, assignment, or classification of employees;
> transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall;
> job advertisements;
> use of company facilities;
> training and apprenticeship programs;
> fringe benefits;
> pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or other terms and conditions of employment.
Discriminatory practices under these laws also include:
> Harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age;
> Retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;
> Employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and
> Denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability. Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.
There are two categories under which most employment discrimination claims fall; disparate treatment and disparate impact. Disparate treatment occurs when an employer commits intentional discrimination such as harassment or refusing to promote or hire an individual because of their color. Disparate impact is generally not intentional but results from an employment practice that on the surface appears to be neutral in treatment but actually treats one group of people more negatively than another. Furthermore, these practices are not justified by a business necessity. Examples of disparate impact include establishing a dress code, educational requirements or height and weight requirements. EEO Compliance Program