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What Are the Different Types of Employment Discrimination?

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Employment discrimination can be a complex and challenging issue. It affects many workers and can significantly impact their careers and well-being. Understanding the different types of employment discrimination is crucial for protecting your rights.

Workers may face several forms of employment discrimination. Each type targets specific characteristics or conditions. Here is a breakdown of the most common types.

Race Discrimination

Race discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfairly because of their race or personal characteristics associated with race. This can include hiring, firing, promotions, pay, job assignments, and other terms and conditions of employment. Employers must treat all employees equally regardless of their race.

Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of their gender. This includes unfair treatment in hiring, pay, promotions, job duties, and other aspects of employment. Both men and women can be victims, though it often disproportionately affects women.

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination targets employees or job applicants who are 40 years old or older. It manifests in unfair practices such as biased hiring decisions, promotions, job assignments, and layoffs. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects older employees from such inequities.

Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats a qualified individual with a disability unfavorably. This includes failing to provide reasonable accommodation, enabling employees to perform their jobs. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protections and sets requirements for employers.

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination involves treating an employee or applicant unfavorably due to their religious beliefs. This can affect various employment aspects, including dress and grooming practices. Employers must reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices unless it causes undue hardship.

National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination arises when an employee is treated unfairly because of their country of origin, ethnicity, accent, or appearance. It includes unfair treatment in recruitment, promotions, and other employment conditions. Employers must ensure equal opportunities for all, regardless of national origin.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfavorably due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This includes hiring, firing, promotions, and benefits. Employers must provide the same accommodation for pregnant employees as they do for others with temporary disabilities.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination involves unfair treatment of employees based on their sexual preferences. This type of discrimination can affect hiring, promotions, pay, and other employment-related decisions. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation.


Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for engaging in legally protected activity. This includes reporting discrimination, participating in an investigation, or assisting with litigation. Retaliation is prohibited, and employees are protected under various federal and state laws.

What to Do if You Have Been Discriminated Against

If you believe you have been a recipient of employment discrimination, taking immediate and decisive action is imperative. Begin by documenting every instance of the discriminatory behavior, including dates, times, locations, and any witnesses to the events. It is crucial to report the discrimination to your supervisor, human resources department, or any designated compliance officer within your company, according to your company’s policies.

You can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a similar state agency. The EEOC enforces federal discrimination laws, and filing a charge with this body is necessary before pursuing most types of legal action.

It is also advisable to consult with an attorney with experience in employment law to understand your rights fully and the best course of action. Legal professionals can guide you through filing a claim and represent your interests in disputes or courtroom proceedings.

A South Jersey Employment Lawyer at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Will Protect Your Rights

Understanding the various types of employment discrimination is vital for safeguarding your rights at work. If you believe you have been discriminated against, it is essential to seek legal advice. Speak with a South Jersey employment lawyer at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.

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