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Discrimination: Race, Gender, Religion, Age, Disability etc.

Discrimination is the unlawful and intentional unfair treatment of a person based on any of a set of federally protected characteristics. Discrimination law has been designed to prohibit the unfair treatment of a person or group of people based on those protected characteristics. Racial discrimination, age discrimination, gender discrimination and disability discrimination are all prohibited by federal law.

Discrimination can negatively impact a person's employment, housing, loan application, business, access to medical services, access to education and access to other public services. Discrimination can also be a violation of a person's human rights.

If you feel you have been discriminated against, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the person or organization that committed the discriminatory act.

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Types of Discrimination

There are many types of discrimination, including discrimination based on age, gender, mental or physical disability, race and national origin, religion and sexual orientation. Discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently from others based on any of a group of federally protected characteristics. The discrimination can involve employment—not being paid the same wage as others, being given menial tasks or not having the same opportunities for promotion—or it can involve day-to-day life, such as not having the same access to services, loans or housing as other people.

DiscriminationAge Discrimination (Ageism) Age discrimination occurs against a person or group based on age. It typically occurs against the elderly, in situations such as employment. For example, an older, more experienced employee being replaced by a younger employee could be a case of age discrimination.

Gender Discrimination (Sexism) Gender discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly because of her gender. It frequently occurs in the form of discrimination against women in the workplace. An example of gender discrimination is when a female employee with the same experience and education as a male employee does not make a similar wage or is not given the same opportunities for promotion in the company.

Mental or Physical Disability Discrimination Disability discrimination involves discriminating against a person because of her disabilities. This can include physical, mental and learning disabilities as well as chronic illness. Disability discrimination can take the form of not being considered for the same employment, housing or services as other people or not making adequate accommodations for people with disabilities.

Race and National Origin Discrimination Race and national origin discrimination occur when a person is treated unfairly based on characteristics of his race or birthplace. Those characteristics can include physical characteristics, language, culture or ancestry. Racial discrimination can also occur when an employer adopts policies that appear neutral but in reality disproportionately affect members of a particular race, such as having culturally biased questions on a job promotion test Furthermore, refusing to hire a person because that person speaks with an accent, even if she is fully qualified for the job, is another instance of discrimination.

Religious Discrimination Religious discrimination is unfair treatment based on a person's religious beliefs or practices. This includes forcing employees to participate or not participate in a religious activity as a condition of employment. Furthermore, employers are required to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices, except in situations where doing so would cause the employer undue hardship.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly because of his or her sexual orientation. Although there is currently no federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, there are individual states that prohibit such discrimination in private employment. Furthermore, some municipalities also have laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Other Forms of Discrimination Other forms of discrimination include reverse discrimination (discrimination against members of a majority group to promote members of a minority), pregnancy discrimination (discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions) and language discrimination (unfair treatment against a person or people who speak a particular language or dialect).

Discrimination Laws

Throughout U.S. history the government has passed multiple acts to prevent against discrimination:

JusticeCivil Rights Act of 1964: The first of many legislations banning discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin. Included in the Act were the prohibition of unequal application of voter registration requirements, prohibition of discrimination in hotels, motels and other public accommodations, prohibition of governments from denying access to public facilities on the basis of race, religion, gender or ethnicity and the prevention of discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funding.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963: Protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: Protects persons 40 years old or older from employment discrimination and also sets guidelines for employment benefits and pensions.

Civil Rights Act of 1968: Prohibits any discrimination (race, religion, sex, handicap, family status and national origin) to affect the sale, rental or financing of housing.

Civil Rights Act of 1991: Provides monetary damages in situations where employees have been subjected to intentional employment discrimination.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978: Protects women from being fired or not considered for employment or promotions due to a current or future pregnancy.

Title IX of the Education Act of 1972: Prohibits gender discrimination in education programs, including athletic programs, that receive federal funding.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: Prohibits discrimination based on an individual's disability. This law protects those with physical and mental disabilities and chronic illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or epilepsy.

If you have been the victim of discrimination in any form, particularly where there are multiple victims and/or witnesses and your complaints have fallen on deaf ears, you may be eligible for a discrimination lawsuit.

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Discrimination Legal Help

If you have experienced any of the types of discrimination listed above, please click the link below to send your complaint to a lawyer who will review your claim at no cost or obligation.

Updated on Jun-27-11

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