What laws protect employees and potential employees against discrimination?

The Atlanta discrimination attorneys at Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP are frequently asked by clients about what employment laws apply to their job. In the United States, there are a number of laws that protect employees against discrimination. One of the most important is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-5), which protects employees, and potential employees, against various forms of employment discrimination. Title VII states, in part—

“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”

Who is protected by discrimination laws in the United States?

“Protected classes” are categories of people who it is illegal to discriminate against based on certain traits. That means it is against the law for an employer to discriminate against an employee, or potential employee, who is a member of a protected class. It should be noted, however, that it is legal to discriminate against someone who is not covered by a protected class. For example, a Georgia employer could not discriminate against an Atlanta employee based only on the fact that he is black, because race is a protected class. However, a Marietta employee with a bad attitude, regardless of race, could be discriminated against, because attitude is not part of a protected class. The most common protected classes under United States federal law include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Color/Race
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Veteran Status
  • Religion
  • Family Status

How is employment discrimination proven?

To prove employment discrimination in the workplace, the employee must show two things:

  1. That he or she is a member of a protected class, AND
  2. He or she suffered from an adverse employment action.

There are a number of defenses to employment discrimination claims, and the employer will have an opportunity to state that there was actually a legitimate reason for the adverse action.

After the employer’s reasons for the adverse action are provided, the employee is then given the opportunity to show that the employer’s reasons were just a pretext. (i.e. not legitimate)

If you have been the victim of Georgia workplace discrimination, contact the Atlanta discrimination lawyers at Hill, Kertscher & Wharton, LLP. We have decades of experience handling complex employment discrimination claims, and will work hard to ensure you receive a fair and just outcome to your situation.

All information about your employment law matter will remain completely confidential. Call our office today at (770) 953-0995 if you have been discriminated against by an employer in Marietta, Decatur, Atlanta, Lawrenceville, or anywhere in Georgia.