Civil Rights Glossary of Terms

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Affirmative Action

Within employment law, actions to eliminate discrimination within in the work place are implemented during the hiring, recruiting, promotions and other work related processes.


This term refers to the adverse acts projected upon an individual due to their race, color, religion, sex, and/or ethnicity. An equal employment opportunity law is implemented to prevent these acts from occurring.

Equal Employment Opportunity

An established system to ensure that employees are not excluded from opportunity for reasons such as, race, age, national origin, color, sex, religion or other unlawful grounds. This system is held up by affirmative action.

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Good Faith Effort

The efforts made by an employer to insure that all areas of the affirmative action system are apparent. Results of these efforts are required for measurement of goals and the timetables assisting those goals.


Non-discrimination is the absence of obvious acts intended for discrimination. This also pertains to the deficiency of affirmative action and the lack of efforts made to eliminate past discrimination.

Protected Classes

This pertains to all minorities who have been subjected to employment discrimination. Title VII protects against any form of discrimination based on race, gender, color, religion, or national origin. Persons over the age of 40, those disabled, and Vietnam veterans are also considered protected classes under separate regulations.


Any employee who has reported a violation against his/her employer or fellow co-worker is referred to as a whistleblower. Protection is given to whistleblowers by law in order to protect them against retaliation of any kind.

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