Unlawful discrimination refers to treating a person unfairly or unequally based on certain characteristics. These characteristics include:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion
  • National origin

People with these characteristics are in a legally protected class. If they are discriminated based on a characteristic, then they may have a legal right to sue.

Where Does Unlawful Discrimination Usually Happen?

Both state and federal laws prohibit discrimination many different areas such as:

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Health care services
  • Government benefits
  • Government services
  • Voting
  • Public accommodations
  • Land use
  • Land zoning
  • Lending money
  • Lending credit
  • Transportation

What Is Lawful Discrimination?

Lawful discrimination refers to treating a person unequally or unfairly based on status or characteristics unrelated to civil rights. For example, a landlord can lawfully discriminate against pet owners by refusing to rent to them.

What Is Unintentional Discrimination?

Unintentional discrimination typically occurs in business. An employer intentionally institutes policies which has a disparate impact on a protected class. A disparate impact means it adversely affect on a particular class of people by singling them out.

The intent to discriminate does not matter. In many cases, an employer can be legally liable for discriminating against a certain class of employees. 

Is Reverse Discrimination Unlawful?

Reverse discrimination is against the law. It occurs when an otherwise-unprotected class is discriminated against because of their historical privilege. This kind of privilege means they have not been discriminated against in the past, such as males or Caucasians.

Should I Discuss Unlawful Discrimination with an Attorney?

Blatant discrimination is easy to recognize. More subtle discrimination is not as easy to recognize. In either situation, it is helpful to talk with an employment lawyer about any alleged discrimination you have faced.