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Job seekers encounter employment discrimination

With unemployment rising and competition in the workplace increasing, it's tough to get a job - or get ahead -- in today's market. More than one in four American adults say they have encountered employment discrimination, according to a new survey by, a popular legal information Web site. The survey asked 1,000 American adults if they believe they have ever experienced discrimination by an employer in job interviews, hiring, pay or promotions. The most frequently cited forms of discrimination involved race, age and gender.

An employer's work policies must be applied to all employees in a non-discriminatory manner. According to, anti-discrimination laws regulate all aspects of work including hiring, firing, promotions, job duties, wages, benefits and reviews. Policies and actions that do not appear discriminatory on their face may be prohibited under the law if those practices have the effect of discriminating against people in a protected class.

Not all discrimination is prohibited by law. Only discrimination based upon a classification that is considered 'protected' -- race, colour, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or union activity under the federal anti-discrimination laws -- is illegal. For example, paying an employee lower wages than others because of differing work duties or experience is not discriminatory.


Last updated 3rd March 2009