Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

Employment discrimination generally exists where an employer treats an applicant or employee less favorably merely because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. Employment discrimination also applies to work situations such as hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

Filing a Complaint

The Civil Rights Division has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by the law. Our role in an investigation is to fairly and accurately assess the allegations in the charge and then make a finding.

Training Opportunities

We also work to prevent discrimination before it occurs through outreach, education, and technical assistance programs. The Civil Rights Division’s Training team can help. We offer numerous Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) training presentations and can tailor training to your needs. Reach out to our training team at or complete our form Training Request Form

Equal Employment Opportunity prohibits discrimination in employment because of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation)
  • Age (Over 40)
  • Disability

The laws protect you from employment discrimination when it involves:

  • Unfair treatment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.
  • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in your workplace, because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.
  • Denial of a reasonable workplace change that you need because of your religious beliefs or disability.
  • Retaliation because you complained about job discrimination or assisted with a job discrimination proceeding, such as an investigation or lawsuit.


To "discriminate" against someone means to treat that person differently, or less favorably, because of their membership in one or more protected classes. This is generally defined as unfair treatment because of your protected class. Discrimination is usually based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of people or groups.


Harassment can take many different forms. It can involve verbal, physical or visual conduct and can occur on or off the work site. The harasser can be your manager, a manager in another area, a co-worker, or others in your workplace, such as clients or customers.

In general, teasing, casual comments, or single instances of inappropriate conduct are not illegal. For inappropriate behavior to rise to the level of illegal harassment, it must be unwelcome or unwanted. It must also be severe (meaning very serious) or pervasive (meaning that it happened frequently).


The laws protect you whether you are complaining about discrimination directed at you or discrimination directed at others. These laws also protect you from being punished, treated differently, or harassed at work because you help someone else report job discrimination.

Work Free of Discrimination

You have a right to work free of discrimination. This means that your employer cannot make job decisions because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity) national origin, disability, or genetic information. Your employer also can’t discriminate against workers who are 40 or older based on their age. This right applies to all types of job decisions, including hiring, firing, promotions, training, wages and benefits.

Work Free of Harassment

You have a right to work in an environment free of harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older) or genetic information.

Complain About Job Discrimination Without Punishment

You have a right to complain about treatment that you believe is illegal job discrimination. Your employer cannot punish you, treat you differently or harass you if you report job discrimination or help someone else report job discrimination, even if it turns out the conduct was not illegal. We call this your right to be protected from retaliation.

Request Workplace Changes for Your Religion, Disability, or Pregnancy, Childbirth or Related Medical Conditions

You have a right to request reasonable changes to your workplace because of your religious beliefs, medical condition, or pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Although your employer does not have to grant every request, it should carefully consider each request and whether it would be possible.