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Types of workplace discrimination

Many individuals in New York may be aware that there are laws against certain types of employment discrimination, but they may not know exactly what the protected classes are. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and several other laws prevent discrimination against individuals in multiple categories.

The categories protected by Title VII are religion, race, national origin and gender, and it applies to employers who have 15 or more employees. Furthermore, employers cannot create hiring criteria that tends to screen out an entire group of people unless it tests for a necessary qualification. For example, some jobs require a degree of strength to perform them that tends to eliminate many women. Title VII also prevents discrimination against pregnant women.

There are several other laws that deal with workplace discrimination. Employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must also pay men and women the same amount for the same job unless seniority or other factors are an issue. Disabled individuals cannot be discriminated against, and employers are also prevented from discriminating against workers over the age of 40 if they have at least 20 employees. The Immigration Reform and Control Act offers additional protection against discrimination due to national origin in an effort to balance stronger laws against illegal immigrants.

An individual who feels they have been discriminated against can bring a suit against an employer but only after pursuing other avenues first. Therefore, an individual over the age of 40 who was fired and replaced with a younger worker would first need to file a claim with a state agency or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The laws referring to equal pay based on gender and national origin are exceptions to this rule.

Source: Findlaw, "Employment Discrimination: Overview", August 26, 2014

Source: Findlaw, "Employment Discrimination: Overview", August 26, 2014

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