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Employment Discrimination

Last updated: December 28, 2018

What Does Employment Discrimination Mean?

Employment discrimination is unlawful and occurs when an employer treats an employee or prospective employee differently based on certain attributes. These attributes include:

  • Race, color, or national origin
  • Gender or sexual preference
  • Age
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Genetic information (such as family medical history)
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy

Safeopedia Explains Employment Discrimination

In cases of employment discrimination, the difference in treatment by the employer toward the employee is usually unrelated to job performance. The difference in treatment may include any or all of the following:

  • Dismissing an employee
  • Injuring an employee during their employment
  • Altering an employee’s position to their detriment
  • Discriminating between one employee and another
  • Refusing employment to a potential employee

In the U.S., section 11(c) of the OSHA Act clearly prohibits any form of discrimination against any employee who undertakes “protected activities.” In this context, examples of protected activities include filing a safety complaint, reporting an injury or illness, requesting an OSHA inspection, or testifying against the employer.


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