What Does Protected Classes Mean?

Employment and discrimination lawyers often use the term “protected classes” to denote those who are protected from discrimination. If a person is not a part of a protected class, it is legal for discrimination to occur. Therefore, recognizing whether or not you can be categorized in a protected class creates the foundation for your lawsuit.

Protected Class – a selection of individuals modeling a similar characteristic that is protected under the law from discrimination.

Acknowledged Protected Classes


A collection of laws formulated the list of protected classes. Some laws specify only a few groups of people while others protect huge groups of people. The laws strive to offer equal experiences and opportunities to all.

Protected Activities

Although discrimination is an unfortunate reality of our society, the government elected to create protections for specific activities to ensure a fairer experience for those who might experience discrimination. Protected classes receive protection in the following areas

  • education
  • employment
  • government services
  • housing
  • public buildings
  • public transportation
  • voting

Examples of Protected Class Discrimination

Religion Example

Alec, with his wife who wears a hijab, tours an apartment and asks to apply as a renter. The apartment manager tells him that this is a Christian neighborhood but gives him the application. A day later, the apartment manager rejects the application.

This could be actionable under the law.

Harassment and National Origin

When Emily arrived from Japan for a specific job placement in a rural city of the United States, her colleagues began to harass her with unkind names. They made fun of her accent, and when she asked them to stop, they said it was just a joke. One colleague has been the worst, and Emily discovered that this colleague resents Emily’s presence and wants her job. This colleague changes meetings at last minute, fails to turn in work to Emily, and continues to make fun of Emily.

This could be categorized as a hostile work environment.

Discrimination in Hiring

Louisa landed her dream job interview. But during the interview, the manager asked her if she planned on having children. And when Louisa declined answering, the manager asked if she already had children. Louisa said she did, and the manager asked about how Louisa planned to juggle motherhood and her job.

These questions are illegal under the law.

Contact Us

If you have experienced discrimination and belong to a category of the protected class, reach out to a discrimination attorney at Kraemer, Manes & Associates. We recognize actionable cases under the law. Once we receive the facts of the situation, we create a plan of action for pursuing your legal options. Call us at 412-626-5626 or email us at lawyer@lawkm.com.