Term Definition
Affirmative Action Job-hiring policies that give special consideration to members of protected classes in an effort to overcome present effects of past discrimination.
Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) An identifiable characteristic reasonably necessary to the normal operation of a particular business.
Business Necessity An employment practice that discriminates against members of a protected class but is necessary for job performance.
Constructive Discharge A termination of employment brought about by making the employee’s working conditions so intolerable that the employee reasonably feels compelled to leave.
Disparate-Impact Discrimination Discrimination that results from certain employer practices or procedures that, although not discriminatory on their face, have a discriminatory effect.
Disparate-Treatment Discrimination Intentional discrimination against individuals on the basis of color, gender, national origin, race, or religion.
Employment Discrimination Treating employees or job applicants unequally on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, or disability.
Prima Facie Case A case in which the plaintiff has produced sufficient evidence to prove his or her conclusion if the defendant produces no evidence to rebut it.
Protected Class A group of persons with defining characteristics—such as race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, and disability—who historically have been discriminated against.
Seniority System A system in which those who have worked longest for the employer are first in line for promotions, salary increases, and other benefits.
Sexual Harassment The demanding of sexual favors in return for job promotions or other benefits, or language or conduct that is so sexually offensive that it creates a hostile working environment.
Tangible Employment Action A significant change in employment status, such as a change brought about by firing or failing to promote an employee.