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What Does Protected Class Mean in Employment Discrimination Law?

A Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyer provides assistance to victims of unlawful discrimination. Discrimination is unlawful if an employer takes something forbidden into account. 

Employers, and potential employers, can consider many different factors in determining whether or not to hire, fire, or promote someone. In general, employers have wide leeway to act in accordance with their own beliefs and theories and to hire and fire anyone for any reason or no reason at all. However, certain groups of people are protected from being fired because of who they are, because these groups of people have historically been discriminated against and treated unfairly by employers. The groups of people who are given special protections from being fired because of some specific characteristic or attribute are said to be a part of a protected class.

If you are fired or treated unfairly by an employer, you should talk with a Philadelphia employment lawyer to determine if you are part of a protected class and to determine whether or not you have an employment discrimination claim. Curley & Rothman, LLC can provide you with assistance in making a claim against an employer who has treated you in an inappropriate way. Give us a call to find out more.

What Does Protected Class Mean in Employment Discrimination?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains what a protected class is for purposes of employment discrimination. According to the EEOC, protected class refers to: “The groups protected from the employment discrimination by law.”

The groups who are part of a protected class and who are given protection from discrimination include:

  • Both men and women who are victimized or discriminated against on the basis of their sex.
  • Groups that share a common race.
  • Groups that share a common religion.
  • Groups that share a common skin color.
  • Groups that share a common national origin.
  • People over the age of 40.
  • People who are disabled with either a physical handicap or a mental handicap.

These laws essentially protect everyone in the country from some type of discrimination, whether that discrimination is based on sex, race, religion, color, national origin, advanced age, or disability status. Minority groups such as women and African Americans were the groups which anti-discrimination laws were specifically passed to protect, since these are the groups who have historically been victimized by discrimination in the workplace. However, even members of the majority such as men and caucasians can take legal action under anti-discrimination laws if an employer treats them unfairly in the workplace on the basis of their protected status.

How a Philadelphia Employment Lawyer Can Help Members of Protected Classes

If you believe that you were discriminated against based on your protected status, you should talk with a Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyer. Your attorney can assist you in determining if you have a legal claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; under the Americans with Disabilities Act; or under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

You should have a case if you were treated differently in any of the terms and conditions of your employment because of your protected status, or if an employer made decisions about hiring or firing you by taking into account your protected status. In other words, if an employer would not promote you because you are a man (or because you are a woman) or if an employer fired you or paid you less because you were African American or Muslim, you could have a claim for damages.

A Philadelphia employment lawyer can assist you in making a complaint about discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which can conduct an investigation into your employer’s conduct and take action. An attorney will also help you to pursue a civil lawsuit against the company to recover monetary compensation for losses and damages, including emotional damage, resulting from the discriminatory treatment based on your protected status. It can sometimes be difficult to prove that you were a victim of discrimination, so you should contact a legal professional as soon as you can so your lawyer can begin working on putting together evidence for your anti-discrimination case.

Getting Help from A Philadelphia Employment Discrimination Lawyer

Curley & Rothman, LLC has provided assistance to people in all different protected classes who have experienced all different kinds of unlawful discrimination. Give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us to talk with a Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyer who can help you to pursue a case for damages when an employer has unlawfully discriminated against you.

Employment LawScott Rothman