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In many countries, laws prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, or age. There is also a growing body of law preventing or occasionally justifying employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Some jurisdictions within countries implement their own non-discrimination laws.
Laws often prohibit discrimination on the basis of:
- Race and ethnic discrimination or color
- Ethnicity/National origin
- Sex or gender
- Religion or creed
- Political affiliation
- Language abilities
- Disability (physical, mental, or emotional)
- Medical conditions (AIDS or other diseases)
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Identity
- Marital status
- Military Veteran status
- Military discharge status or anticipated military deployment
Some jurisdictions prohibit employment discrimination against other social group that have legal protections. They include discrimination or harassment based on socioeconomic class, height or weight if not relevant to employment, and provincial/regional origin.
Unintentional discrimination (often termed "statistical discrimination") occurs when neutral selection practices produce a substantial disparity of outcomes between one group and another. Such practices include the use of standardized tests (which may disadvantage minority groups) or height (which may disadvantage women and some ethnic groups) in the hiring process. If the requirements are job-related and a "business necessity", the disparity is irrelevant.
Some laws prohibit unintentional discrimination as well as intentional discrimination, but may have different standards for deciding what is acceptable. Substantial disparities in outcome are not necessarily illegal, if the practices that produce them are necessary.
Legal protection from employment discrimination
Many countries have laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Sometimes these are part of broader anti-discrimination laws.
- Employment discrimination law in the United States
- Employment discrimination law in the United Kingdom
- Affirmative action
- Economic discrimination
- Job applicant screening
- Personnel evaluation
- Personnel management
- Personnel selection