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Discrimination FAQs

1. What is illegal discrimination? (HYPERLINK)


Making an employment decision based on a prohibited factor such as: race, sex (including sexual orientation and sex stereotyping), color, religion, national origin, age (40 and above), disability (mental or physical), genetic information, and reprisal (for prior EEO involvement).

2. What are the theories of discrimination?(HYPERLINK)


There are four theories of discrimination: (1) disparate treatment and, (2) adverse impact, (3) reasonable accommodation (failure to accommodate), and (4) harassment (sexual and non-sexual).

3. What is disparate treatment? (HYPERLINK)


Disparate treatment occurs when an employee is intentionally treated differently from other employees who are in similar situations because of a prohibited factor (race, gender, color, religion, national origin, age (40 and above), disability, reprisal (for prior EEO involvement), sexual identity or sexual orientation).

4. What is adverse impact? (HYPERLINK)


Adverse impact occurs when a system is designed to treat everyone equally, but in reality, it more harshly impacts a certain protected group and it cannot be justified by business necessity.

5. What is harassment? (HYPERLINK)


Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

6. What is a reasonable accommodation? (HYPERLINK)


A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace (or in the ways things are usually done) to help a person with a disability apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment. The law requires that an employer provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer. Reasonable accommodation for disability might include, for example, providing a ramp for a wheelchair user or providing a reader or interpreter for a blind or deaf employee or applicant.


Reasonable accommodation also applies to religion. The law also requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause difficulty or expense for the employer. This means an employer may have to make reasonable adjustments at work that will allow the employee to practice his/her religion, such as allowing an employee to voluntarily swap shifts with a co-worker so that he/she can attend religious services.

5. What do I do if I feel I am being discriminated against? (HYPERLINK)


Contact an EEO Counselor or the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity within 45 days from the date of the alleged discriminatory event.

6. Which one of the following is the best explanation of equal employment opportunity?


Employment practices that do not result in illegal discrimination

7. What law prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, nationality, sex, and religion?


Title VII


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