What is a protected class?

What is a protected class?

| Mar 12, 2020 | Firm News |

While we may not all experience discrimination at work, federal and state laws are necessary for protecting the people who do not receive fair treatment because of their traits.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) manages many federal employment laws in the United States. This includes workplace discrimination against protected classes. From 1997 to 2018, they have received 1,889,631 complaints.

The federal government uses protected classes to name and support those who are often the subject of unequal treatment. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing names these protected classes as:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion (dress, grooming)
  • National origin or ancestry (language, possession of a driver’s license)
  • Sex or gender (pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, related conditions)
  • Gender identity or gender expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age over 40
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Medical condition (HIV/AIDS, cancer, genetic information)
  • Military or veteran status
  • Request for leave (family care, medical, pregnancy disability)
  • Marital status
  • Retaliation

In 2017, the EEOC reported that discrimination involving retaliation, race, disability and sex is the most common.

If you fall into one of California’s protected classes and believe you are receiving unfair treatment at work because of it, look at your company’s discrimination policies. The best thing to do is to allow the company time to address your issue. Talk to your employer or H.R. representative. If the issue persists, file a complaint with the EEOC and talk to an attorney.