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Glossary

A-D

Ableism - Prejudice against or disregard of disabled people's needs and rights; discrimination that unreasonably favors able-bodied persons.

ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 – A federal statute that prohibits discrimination -- in employment, public services, and public accommodations -- against any person with a disability ("a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities").

ADEA - Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 - A federal law prohibiting job discrimination based on a person's age, especially unfair and discriminatory employment decisions that negatively affect someone who is 40 years old or older.

Adverse Impact - see Disparate Impact

At-Will Employment - Employment that is usually undertaken without a contract and that may be terminated at any time, by either the employer or the employee, without cause.

BFOQ- Bona Fide Occupational Qualification - An employment qualification that, although it may discriminate against a protected class (such as sex, religion, or national origin), relates to an essential job duty and is considered reasonably necessary to the operation of the particular business.

Discrimination - The effect of a law or established practice that confers privileges on a certain class or that denies eges to a certain class because of race, age, sex, nationality, religion, or handicap. • Federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibits employment discrimination based on any one of those characteristics. Other federal statutes, supplemented by court decisions, prohibit discrimination in voting rights, housing, credit extension, public education, and access to public facilities.

Disparate Impact - The adverse effect of a facially neutral practice (esp. an employment practice) that nonetheless discriminates against persons because of their race, sex, national origin, age, or disability and that is not justified by business necessity. • Discriminatory intent is irrelevant in a disparate-impact claim. -- Also termed adverse impact

Disparate Treatment - The practice, especially in employment, of intentionally dealing with persons differently because of their race, sex, national origin, age, or disability. • To succeed on a disparate-treatment claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant acted with discriminatory intent or motive.

E-H

EEOC - Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - An independent federal commission that investigates claims of employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or age and enforces antidiscrimination statutes through lawsuits. • It was created by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC encourages mediation and other nonlitigious means of resolving employment disputes. A claimant must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC before pursuing a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and certain other employment -related statutes.

EPA - Equal Pay Act of 1963 – A federal statute that forbids pay differential on the basis of sex.  Man and women are to receive equal pay for equal work.

Ethnicity - Sharing distinctive cultural traits as a group in society.

FLSA - Fair Labor Standards Act - A federal law, enacted in 1938, that regulates minimum wages, overtime pay, and the employment of minors.

FMLA - Family Medical Leave Act - A 1993 federal statute providing that employees may take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family reasons, as when a family member is sick or when a child is born.    The statute applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. An employee may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year under the FMLA.

Harassment -  Words, conduct, or action (usually repeated or persistent) that, being directed at a specific person, annoys, alarms, or causes substantial emotional distress in that person and serves no legitimate purpose.

Hostile Environment - Sexual harassment in which a work environment is created where an employee is subject to unwelcome verbal or physical sexual behavior that is either severe or pervasive. • This type of harassment might occur, for example, if a group of coworkers repeatedly e-mailed pornographic pictures to a colleague who found the pictures offensive.

M-Q

Major Life Activity - Any activity that an average person in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty, such as seeing, hearing, sleeping, eating, walking, traveling, and working. • A person who is substantially limited in a major life activity is protected from discrimination under a variety of disability laws, most significantly the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

National Origin- The country in which a person was born, or from which the person's ancestors came. • This term is used in several antidiscrimination statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination because of an individual's "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

Nepotism- Bestowal of official favors on one's relatives, especially in hiring.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act - A federal statute that prohibits workplace discrimination against a pregnant woman or against a woman affected by childbirth or a related medical condition.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment - Sexual harassment in which the satisfaction of a sexual demand is used as the basis of an employment decision. • This type of harassment might occur, for example, if a boss fired or demoted an employee who refused to go on a date with the boss.

R-W

Race - 1. A family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock.   2. A class or kind of people unified by community of interest, habits, or characteristics.   3. A division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type.

Reasonable Accommodation - 1. An action taken to adapt or adjust for a disabled person, done in a way that does not impose an undue hardship on the party taking the action.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer must make reasonable accommodations for an employee's disability.     2. An action taken to adapt or adjust for an employee's religious need or practice, done in a way that does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Reverse Discrimination - Preferential treatment of minorities, usually through affirmative-action programs, in a way that adversely affects members of a majority group.

Sexual Harassment - A type of employment discrimination consisting in verbal or physical abuse of a sexual nature.

Sexual Orientation - A person's predisposition or inclination toward a particular type of sexual activity or behavior; heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.

Title VII - Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  It covers all terms and conditions of employment, and it holds the employer responsible for any discrimination that goes on within the employer’s organization.

Whistleblower - An employee who reports employer wrongdoing to a governmental or law-enforcement agency.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Tue Jan 3, 2012 5:16:35 PM
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