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Home » Frequently Asked Questions » Employment Law FAQ » Who Is Protected From Discrimination By Law?

Title VII: Protected Categories

Title VII generally prohibits covered employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. More specifically, Title VII makes it an unlawful employment practice for a covered employer:

  • To fail or refuse to hire, discharge or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his or her compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin
  • To limit, segregate or classify his or her employees or applicants for employment in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his or her status as an employee because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin
  • To discriminate against any individual because of his or her race, color, religion, sex or national origin in admission to or employment in any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training
  • To discriminate (as in, retaliate) against any individual because he or she has opposed any practice that was made an unlawful employment practice by Title VII (the “Opposition Clause”) or because he or she has made a charge, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under this title (the “Participation Clause”)
  • To print or publish or cause to be printed or published any notice or advertisement relating to employment indicating any preference, limitation, specification or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, except that such a notice or advertisement may indicate a preference, limitation, specification or discrimination based on religion, sex or national origin when religion, sex or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification for employment

More Important Info About Title VII

Title VII also prohibits discrimination against an individual because of his or her association with another individual of a particular race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Nevertheless, covered employers are still allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion, sex or national origin (but not color or race) “in those certain instances where religion, sex or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise.” This defense is commonly referred to as the bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) defense.

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