When employers are guilty of committing workplace discrimination, they have violated a worker’s rights by treating them unequally on the basis of a class. Everyone is, in some way or another, part of a protected class. This is due to the fact that protected classes range from a person’s race or religion to their age or gender.
An employer may have discriminated against you because of your national origin or your accent. Or, perhaps they fired you because of your race or they are paying you unequally because of your age. Note that while every worker in the United States falls under a protected class, the laws preventing workplace discrimination came into being because of discrimination against women and minority groups.
To be in a protected class is to be federally protected
Many of the laws behind protected classes started as an act, the majority of which U.S. legislation passed within the last hundred years. Some of these acts include:
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
Note also that you do not have to be employed by the discriminating party in order to be discriminated against. If you are simply applying for a job or going through an interview, it is possible that an employer may discriminate against you for your place in one of the protected classes.