Types of Employment Discrimination

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of the employee’s age, disability, gender, race, color, national origin, military status, or pregnancy. Discrimination claims are not always based on conduct that is open and obvious. There is not usually a smoking gun. For this reason, it is important to trust your instincts – even if you are concerned that your employer may have a different version of events.  If you believe your employer may have discriminated against you, you should contact the employment attorneys at Weiner & Sand LLC to discuss your claims.



There are two overarching theories of employment discrimination under which all discrimination claims fall: disparate impact claims and disparate treatment claims.


Disparate treatment claims focus on whether an employer treated an employee less favorably because of a protected characteristic (e.g., race, age, gender, religion, pregnancy status, and national origin).  For example, “My employer fired me because I am pregnant.” Liability in a disparate-treatment case depends on whether the protected trait actually motivated the employer’s decision. Proving discriminatory intent can be accomplished either through circumstantial evidence or through direct evidence.  In either scenario, the ultimate question is whether the employee was the victim of intentional discrimination.


Disparate impact claims focus on an employer’s facially neutral policy that has a significant disparate impact on a protected group.  For example, employers that use certain aptitude tests, physical requirements (for example, lifting or stamina), or degree requirements, may be subject to a disparate impact claim if the requirements disproportionately impact the members of a protected class.  Disparate impact claims are typically filed on a class-wide basis representing all employees who are disparately impacted by the facially neutral employment policy.