The Most Common Types of Discrimination Lawsuits in the U.S.

by JRO on February 5, 2014

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Discrimination lawsuits are among the most common types of lawsuits in the United States. Within the realm of discrimination, court cases most typically revolve around race and/or national origin discrimination, sex-based discrimination, and religious discrimination. Here’s a look through history at some of the most prominent discrimination cases in each of the three categories.

Race and/or National Origin Discrimination

Racial discrimination charges are by far the most common type of discrimination lawsuits in the United States each year. In 2012, racial discrimination charges composed 33.7 percent of all discrimination charges in the country.

Brown v. Board of Education: Perhaps the most famous case regarding racial discrimination in US History, Brown v. Board of Education revolved around the issue of public school segregation based on race. Overturning the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education deemed separate institution based on race to be “inherently unequal.”

Loving v. Virginia: The 1967 Supreme Court case overruled states’ regulations banning interracial marriage, declaring such regulations to be unconstitutional. The decision was founded on the fact that such laws were not only considered to be racial discrimination, but also a violation of privacy.

Today, racial discrimination lawsuits have much less national significance, typically focusing on using racially offensive language in a professional or public setting. Other racial discrimination lawsuits involve the denial of education or work opportunities based on race or national origin.

Sex-Based Discrimination

Sex-based discrimination lawsuits come in second on the list, composing approximately 30 percent of all discrimination lawsuits in the United States. Sex-based discrimination lawsuits typically involve discrimination and harassment that is based on gender or not conforming to gender stereotypes.

Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co: In the first class-action sexual harassment lawsuit in the United States, Lois Jenson claimed that she and her female colleagues suffered insulting, offensive, and hostile treatment from male employees. When she complained to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, her tires were slashed. When the case went to trial, a US District Court concluded that the company should have prevented the harassment, and not to do so constituted sexual discrimination. The women were collectively awarded $3.5 million.

Most sexual discrimination lawsuits in the United States today still focus on women being harassed in the workplace or being denied employment. More transgender discrimination lawsuits, however, have begun surfacing as well.

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination cases have recently been on the rise. In some historical cases, such as Reynolds v. The United States and Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith, it has been decided by the Supreme Court that societal benefits will sometimes trump religious freedoms like polygamy or consumption of illegal drugs.

In America today, common discrimination suits that involve religion are cases of discrimination against Muslims (particularly in the workplace), lawsuits against employers who fire or reprimand employees who refuse to work on the Sabbath, lawsuits against employers who fire employees who refuse to wear certain uniforms/garb to work or refuse to serve alcohol. Abercrombie and Fitch just settled for $71,000 over a case against the company, filed by two Muslim women who said they were fired for wearing hijabs. Walmart also just settled at $70,000 in a lawsuit with a former employee who was dismissed after refusing to work Sundays due to his Mormon religious beliefs.

Byline

Evan Pickett is a freelance writer based in Toledo, Ohio. Evan focuses on complex litigation, Constitutional Law, legal history, bail bonds and other related issues; those who’d like further info on bail bonds should check out the quick and efficient bail bonds in Pearland TX from ezbailbondz.com.

JRO
Freelance blogger based in the greater metro area of Seattle, WA.

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