Businesses and Discrimination

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You can’t browse Facebook, watch the news, or grab a Starbucks without hearing about Arizona’s S.B. 1062. With the Governor’s veto, we don’t have to worry about how such a law will effect businesses in this state. But it seems like a good time for a refresher on established anti-discrimination laws and how they apply to your business.

Between U.S. Supreme Court decisions and Federal Statutes, it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their: race/color, sex. age, religion, national origin, pregnancy, genetic information, or disability.

For the majority of business owners, discrimination will not be a problem. You want to do business and are happy to do what it takes to ensure people can find you and take advantage of your services and/or products. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself in the midst of a discriminatory situation – either from a customer or (more likely) your employees.

So, as a business owner, what should you do to be prepared?

First, educate yourself and your employees. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission  can provides you with loads of information. Find it here.

Second, know your state laws and local ordinances. Keep in mind that Federal anti-discrimination laws can be supplemented by state law and local ordinances. For instance, the City of Phoenix prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, even if the State of Arizona does not.

The key is to be educated.