experience provided us with
invaluable guidance during times
when we faced critical decisions."
December 31, 2015
Is discrimination ever legal? The short answer is yes.Federal Laws
Federal anti-discrimination laws set minimum national standards all states must comply with; however, states and localities may pass additional laws and regulations that increase protections. Discriminatory treatment is only illegal if a person is part of a legally defined protected class. A person is part of a protected class if they possess the characteristic that defines the class. Federal law classifies the following as protected classes:
States and localities can and do pass laws creating other protected classes. For example, New York law includes all the Federal classes and it expands protected classes to include:
A person may be a member of another group with a defining characteristic that is not protected by a Federal, State or Local law and an employer may discriminate against that person legally because that class of person is not a legally protected class. For example, being overweight is not a protected class under Federal law. Therefore, an employer located in Georgia could take a negative employment action against an employee because he is overweight and it would not be illegal discrimination. Another example is being left-handed. An employer could refuse to hire anyone who is left-handed for no other reason except that he does not like left-handed people and it would not be illegal discrimination.