What is Unlawful Discrimination

Differentiating Between Lawful and Unlawful Discrimination

 

Not all types of discrimination are unlawful such that they allow for a discrimination-based civil rights lawsuit. The following examples differentiate between lawful and unlawful discrimination.

Example of Lawful Discrimination: James (an African-American man) applies to rent an apartment. When the landlord learns that James owns two cats, the landlord refuses to rent to James because the landlord does not want pets in the apartment complex. Here, the landlord has lawfully discriminated against James based solely on his status as a pet owner because landlords can lawfully discriminate against applicants who own pets.

Example of Unlawful Discrimination: James (an African-American man) applies to rent an apartment. When the landlord learns that James is African-American, the landlord refuses to rent to James because the landlord does not want African-American tenants in his building (the landlord prefers Caucasian tenants). Here, the landlord has unlawfully discriminated against James based solely on his race because landlords cannot lawfully discriminate against applicants based on race.

Common Types of Unlawful Discrimination

Hate crimes: Violence inflicted because of the particular victim’s perceived or actual race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Employment: Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information during the process of obtaining or holding employment.

Housing: Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status (families with children), handicap, or national origin in the selling or rental of housing accommodations.

Public Accommodations, Businesses, and Services: Discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin while seeking the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation or any person who holds a professional license.

Public Assistance / Government Benefits: Discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Public and Private School Educational Institutions that Receive Federal Funds: Discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability in education.

Medical and Healthcare: Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, or disability regarding medical or healthcare services.

State and Local Governmental Conduct: Discrimination by some form of government action that deprives people of their federal rights, privileges, or immunities.

Peace Officer Misconduct or Abuse: A pattern or practice of conduct by any governmental authority, agent, or person acting on behalf of a governmental authority that deprives people of their rights, privileges, or immunities.

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