Employment Discrimination & Workplace Harassment
What is Employment Discrimination?
Employment discrimination refers to unfair treatment of an employee (or applicant) because of race, national origin, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, or other "protected category." The term "protected category" means membership in a group that, by law, is protected from discrimination. Neutral policies and practices that have an adverse impact on a protected group are also illegal under laws that recognize the "disparate impact" theory of discrimination.
Disparate treatment is the most easily understood type of discrimination. The employer simply treats some people less favorably than others because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin or other protected category. Liability in a disparate treatment case depends on whether the protected trait actually motivated the employer's decision.
For example, under federal employment discrimination laws, employers (and other covered entities) may not hire, fire, promote, demote or take other adverse actions against an employee because he or she is African-American, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, Caucasian, male, female, over the age of 40, a member of a particular religion, disabled but able to perform the essential functions of the job, pregnant, or is otherwise a member of a protected class. Likewise, employers may not differentiate in pay, benefits, or any other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of an employee's protected status. See also Workplace Harassment.
In other words, employees are entitled to equal opportunity, equal rights, and equality in every aspect of employment without regard to their membership in a protected class.
Employment discrimination laws do not, however, provide a remedy for all workplace conflicts. For instance, personality conflicts, inept managers, or other workplace problems unrelated to an employee's protected status are not covered by employment discrimination laws.
Some Categories Protected by Federal Employment Discrimination Laws Include:
Retaliation for engaging in equal employment opportunity (EEO) activity is also illegal. This means that an employer may not retaliate against an employee for complaining about employment discrimination, making a charge, testifying, or otherwise participating in an employment discrimination investigation.
Major Employment Discrimination Laws For Employers in Virginia and D.C. Include
If you need an experienced lawyer for an employment discrimination case, call attorney Lori Searcy today at 703-644-4122 / 202-393-1443 or complete the
employment case review form. For more information about employment discrimination laws in D.C. or Virginia, visit:
The Employment Law Chronicle.