Protection against discrimination based on membership in a protected class extends to various categories, such as sex, race, pregnancy, age, and religion. However, a more complex legal scenario arises when an employee experiences discrimination due to their association with a protected individual. In such cases, the victim is not targeted based on their own status in a protected class, but because of their connection to a friend or family member who belongs to a protected class. If you are a victim, get help from a White Plains employment lawyer.
Association Discrimination in the Workplace:
The Equality Act of 2010 defines nine protected classes, including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion, race, sex, and sexual orientation. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or potential employees based on their membership in one or more of these classes. However, association discrimination occurs when an employer discriminates against an employee based on the protected characteristic of someone with whom the employee associates, such as a spouse, partner, friend, or family member.
For example, an employer who refuses to hire an applicant because of their association with a disabled child could be found guilty of association discrimination. It is important for employers to understand and comply with anti-discrimination laws to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and equitably in the workplace.
Federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on their race, sex, national origin, religion, and other protected classes. While Title VII applies to employers with at least 15 employees and caps the damages a complainant can receive based on the size of the business, federal courts have extended protection to employees who experience discrimination based on their associations.
For instance, in a case where an employee who was married to an African American woman was terminated from her employment, the appellate court ruled in favor of the employee. The court concluded that the employer violated Title VII by acting adversely against the employee because of her association with someone of another race, which was a form of discrimination. This ruling highlights the importance of understanding and following federal laws that prohibit association discrimination in the workplace.
Employees who experience discrimination due to association should seek legal counsel to understand their rights and take appropriate action to protect themselves. With a clear understanding of the law and their rights, employees can work towards ensuring a workplace that is fair, equitable, and free from discrimination.