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Odd ways employers can legally discriminate against workers

The federal government has enacted laws to protect employees against discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from being discriminated against based on national origin, sex, religion or race. 

While most workers assume an employer cannot discriminate against them for anything, the truth is far from it. When trying to build a case, an attorney will have to consider whether the type of discrimination a person experienced is, in fact, illegal. 

Being you

Unfortunately, many employers end up playing favorites. An employer can look you over for a promotion you qualify to receive simply because he or she prefers someone else. To bring this type of instance to court, you would need to prove the favoritism, or lack thereof, is somehow related to your race, gender or something else mentioned in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.


It is illegal for a boss to terminate current employment because the employee filed for bankruptcy. However, no such protections exist for people who apply for a job. When employers conduct background checks, they may discover an applicant filed for bankruptcy in the past. This could be the basis for not giving the person the job, and it is legal. 


There are no laws in place that state an employer cannot discriminate against potential employees on the basis of appearance. This applies to people whom the employer either views as too attractive or too unattractive. However, if the appearance issue seems to relate to an applicant's gender, then discrimination would be illegal. 

Credit history

This is a tricky area. Employers often run background checks on job applicants, and in this search, they find out people's credit histories. There are technically no laws protecting employees from losing out on a job due to bad credit. However, the people most likely to face discrimination based on bad credit are minorities and women, so a lawsuit could be viable in this instance. 

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