In this six-part article, the Tampa construction lawyers with Cotney Construction Law are educating construction businesses on ways they can maintain discrimination-free workplaces. In the previous section, we discussed the role of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when an employee or applicant believes they were discriminated against. In this part, we will discuss protected groups and how an employee or applicant can be eligible to file a discrimination charge with the federal organization. Remember, a Tampa construction lawyer can draft an employee manual for your construction firm that protects your business’ best interests.
What Is Considered a Protected Group by the EEOC?
In order to qualify to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, an applicant or employee must be a member of a protected group, including:
- Race and Color: Race discrimination is considered discirimination based on ancestry, physical, or cultural characteristics associated with a person’s race. Generally, there are five racial or ethnic categories, including: American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and White; and one category of ethnicity, Hispanic or Latino. Color discrimination refers to discrimination based on the color (lightness or darkness) of a person’s skin. Color discrimination can occur between different races or among members of the same race.
- Religion: Religious discrimination often occurs when an employer refuses to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices. Religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are all recognized by the EEOC.
- Sex: Sex discrimination occurs when an employee is discriminated against based off their gender or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment is a common form of sex discrimination and involves any unwelcome sexual advances, requests, or verbal or physical harassment; however, harassment doesn’t have to be sexual to qualify. Any offensive or negative remarks about a person’s gender can qualify as sex discrimination. Discrimination against pregnant employees also qualifies.
- National Origin: When employees are discriminated against because they are from a certain country or part of the world, this is national origin discrimination. This includes discrimination towards their ethnicity. It also can include negative comments about their accent or other aspects of their life (i.e., if their spouse is from a national origin).
- Age: Any form of unfavorable treatment or discrimination against people that are 40 years of age or older is considered age discrimination. This includes offensive or derogatory remarks about an employee’s age or any adverse employment action taken against a person based off of their age.
- Disability: It’s illegal to harass an employee that has a disability. If a person is disabled, an employer may be required to provide them with reasonable accommodations to perform their work responsibilities. Harassment, adverse employment actions, or failure to provide reasonable accommodations are all examples of disability discrimination.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.