What is Business Discrimination?


Business discrimination is when a business treats a person or group of people differently because of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information. Discrimination can occur in any aspect of business, including hiring, firing, pay, benefits, promotions, training, and discipline.

Types of Business Discrimination

There are two main types of business discrimination: direct discrimination and indirect discrimination.

  • Direct discrimination occurs when a business ideas a person or group of people less favorably than others because of their protected characteristic. For example, a business that refuses to hire a woman because she is pregnant is engaging in direct discrimination.
  • Indirect discrimination occurs when a business has a policy or practice that has a negative impact on a protected group, even if the policy or practice is not intended to discriminate. For example, a business that requires all employees to work 40 hours per week may have a negative impact on employees with disabilities who cannot work full-time.

The Effects of Business Discrimination

Business discrimination can have a number of negative effects on individuals and businesses. For individuals, discrimination can lead to lost job opportunities, lower pay, and a hostile work environment. For businesses, discrimination can lead to decreased productivity, increased turnover, and legal liability.

How to Prevent Business Discrimination

Businesses can prevent business discrimination by taking the following steps:

  • Adopt a non-discrimination policy: A non-discrimination policy should state that the business will not discriminate against any person or group of people on the basis of their protected characteristic.
  • Train employees: Employees should be trained on the company’s non-discrimination policy and on how to identify and prevent discrimination.
  • Create an anonymous reporting system: Employees should be able to report discrimination anonymously without fear of retaliation.
  • Investigate all complaints: All complaints of discrimination should be investigated promptly and thoroughly.
  • Take disciplinary action: If discrimination is found to have occurred, disciplinary action should be taken against the responsible employee.

Businesses that engage in discrimination can face legal liability.

In the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment. The EEOC can investigate complaints of discrimination and can bring lawsuits against businesses that violate the law. Businesses that violate the law can be ordered to pay back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

Business discrimination is a serious problem that can have a number of negative consequences for individuals and businesses. By taking steps to prevent discrimination, businesses can create a more inclusive and productive work environment.