Discrimination in its broad meaning is a treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. Today, most cases of discrimination that are brought to court are related to employment discrimination. The plaintiffs have different reasons for filing a discrimination lawsuit against their employers. Some employees file a lawsuit because they were denied a promotion, other file a complaint because they are paid unequally with their co-workers who have same qualification and job performance as them. Additionally, there are other employees who bring a complaint against their former and future employers because they were fired or could not be hired to a specific job they feel they are qualified to do. However, not anyone can file a discrimination lawsuit. In order to file a discrimination complaint against your employer you have to be a member of a protected class. According to the textbook, title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its amendments prohibits job discrimination against employees, applicants, and union members on the basis of race, color, nation of origin, religion, and gender at any stage of employment. (Cross & Miller, 2012)
However, seeing that today member of minority groups and women have made enough economic progress in the last several decades compared to 1964, it is fair to ask this question: do members of protected groups still need special legislation to protect them? This is not an easy question to answer because everyone has different opinion on this issue, but regardless of what other people think, it would be fair to ask this question instead: for how long will special legislation that protect minority groups and women last? The truth is that there is still a long way to go since new forms of discrimination keep evolving, like weight discrimination and pregnancy discrimination for instance.
According to Svetlana Shkolnikova in “Weight discrimination could be as common as racial bias; Studies find a surge in reported cases”, weight discrimination, especially in USA society, is increasing and is as common as racial discrimination. Shkolnikova continues by stating that two studies claim this. One study claims that reported discrimination based on weight has increased from 7% to 12% in the USA which is a 66% increase in the last decade. The other study says that such discrimination is common in both institutional and interpersonal situations. It is even dominant than rates of discrimination based on race and gender in some case. Moreover, Shkolnikova says that according to Rebecca Puhl of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, a co-author of both studies, weight discrimination is a very serious social problem that we need to pay attention to. Institutional discrimination according to Puhl involves health care, education or workplace situations, such as cases in which people say that they were fired, denied a job or promotion because of their weight. Interpersonal discrimination on the other hand focuses on insults, abuses and harassments from others. Currently there is no Federal laws against weight discrimination exist and Puhl states that weight discrimination will not decrease until attitudes change and laws begin addressing it. (Shkolnikova, 2008)
Another example of an increasing new form of discrimination is a pregnancy discrimination that women face. According to Stephanie Armour in “Pregnant workers report growing discrimination”, the number of women claiming they have been discriminated against on the job because they are pregnant is soaring even as the birth rate declines. Armour continues by stating that according to an analysis of government data by the Washington-based National Partnership for Women & Families, from fiscal year 1992 to 2003 pregnancy discrimination complaints filed…