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What is a “protected class” in the employment law realm?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2020 | Firm News

Saying that employees are protected in New York workplaces and nationally is more than just a casual observation.

In fact, the term has both a generalized and quite specific meaning when applied to American labor.

In today’s blog post, we focus on the latter connotation.

Protected classifications regarding employment discrimination

We spotlight on our website “the protected classifications as defined by federal law.”

Those categories were underscored and given force through the implementation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, specifically its Title VII provisions.

The rationale for the safeguards was and continues to be workers’ protections against workplace discrimination. Enumerated protections that exist under the legislation and have been added to over the years include:

  • Race and national origin
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy

On-the-job discrimination that links to any of those bulleted categories is a flat workplace taboo. Notably, too, it bears noting that many states – including New York – have supplemented Title VII safeguards with more localized protections.

The bottom line: Employees across the country routinely invoke federal and state anti-discrimination laws in pursuit of legal remedies.

How can an employer protect against discrimination claims?

Proactivity is a recommended first step for any business understandably seeking to avoid accusations of a hostile work environment marked by discrimination and/or harassment. Company management can work with experienced labor law counsel to establish and otherwise promote the following:

  • Handbook creation setting forth clear workplace rules, policies and expectations
  • Timely engagement with an employee bent on resolving issues outside of formal litigation
  • Establishment of relevant training programs
  • Zero tolerance for any discriminator behavior

A proven employment law legal team can provide further information.

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