Chapter 3

protected characteristics

individual attributes that are protected under EEO laws and regulations

equal employment opportunity

employment that is not affected by illegal discrimination


employment decisions that are made without regard to individuals' personal characteristics

disparate treatment

occurs when individuals with particular characteristics that are treated differently from others

disparate impact

occurs when an employment practice that does not appear to be discriminatory adversely affects individuals with a particular characteristic sot hat they are substantially underrepresented as a result of employment decisions that work to their disadvsantag

business necessity

a practice necessary for safe and efficient organizational operations

bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ)

characteristic providing a legitimate reason an employer can exclude persons on otherwise illegal bases of consideration

burden of proof

what individuals who file suit against employers must prove to establish that illegal discrimination has occurred


punitive action taken by employers against individuals who exercise their legal rights

affirmative action

proactive employment practices to compensate for historical discrimination against women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities

affirmative action program (AAP)

a document that outlines proactive steps the organization will take to attract and hire members of underrepresented groups

pay equity

the idea that pay for job requiring comparable levels of knowledge, skill, and ability should be similar, even if actual duties differ significantly

glass ceiling

discriminatory practices that have prevented women and minority status employees from advancing to executive-level jobs


practice of allowing relatives to work for the same employer

sexual harassment

unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe and affects ts working conditions or creates a hostile work environment