Intersectional Discrimination in the Workplace

By: Eva Zelson
On: March 31, 2023

Black Disabled Americans

What is Intersectional Discrimination?

Since its inception in 2010, the Equality Act has ensured that employers protect their workers with disabilities from harassment, exclusion, and victimization. Adding to that, a relatively new concept called intersectional discrimination has recently become broadly accepted. Intersectional discrimination is best defined as a distinct and specific form of discrimination that occurs when at least two grounds of discrimination operate and interact concurrently. In essence, intersectional discrimination falls under the umbrella of multiple discrimination.

Intersectional discrimination is impacting litigation because traditionally the courts have taken a single-axis approach in cases of discrimination. This single grounds approach has unfortunately created more difficulty for victims in intersectional discrimination cases such as:

  • Victims are more likely to experience more instances of discrimination.
  • Victims are more likely to suffer a more intense, aggravated form of discrimination.
  • Victims are more likely to suffer from social exclusion, marginalization, poverty, and oppression.

If you are the victim of multiple discrimination, our experienced attorneys at Zeff Law Firm can represent your intersectional discrimination case. Our team can litigate your case with the most current case law to protect you and your rights.

What are Some Examples of Intersectional Discrimination?

Common examples of intersectional discrimination occur when layers of bias such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality overlap. An intersectional approach can be a successful method to address discrimination in the workplace, to identify forms of discrimination that could be overlooked through a single grounds approach. Some frequent examples of intersectional discrimination are those aimed at:

  • Black Americans with disabilities
  • Muslims who identify as LGBTQ
  • Hispanic women
  • Black women

Business Women

The Biden-⁠Harris Administration’s Efforts to Support Black Disabled Americans

Support of Black Disabled Americans has been at the forefront of the Biden-Harris administration. This administration has levied many significant changes to reach equitable outcomes for Black disabled Americans. The Biden-Harris drive for equity is a combined effort of the White House Steering Committee on Equity in conjunction with what Biden called a whole government approach. The White House has reported the Department of Labor, Department of Education, Department of Health, and the Social Security Administration have already made strides in making more equitable decisions as per President Biden’s directive. Biden has also ordered all agencies to grow their Equity Action Plans to extend beyond color to groups such as LGBTQ+, religion, gender, and disabilities.

The Role of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Combating Discrimination

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), has played a major role in promoting training and equity in industries associated with infrastructure. The IIJA intends to provide funding to create access to training and apprenticeships for minority groups most affected by the pandemic recession. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is being used to incentivize local hiring practices and also generate equal access among communities. For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a task force to address digital discrimination and adopt recommendations that address English proficiency, disability, age, and other groups facing such inequalities.

What can be Done to Prevent Intersectional Discrimination

The prevention of intersectional discrimination centers around the creation of an inclusive work environment. Several essential steps can be deployed to prevent intersectional discrimination:

  1. Identify intersectionalities within your candidate pools and employees.
  2. Evaluate and review current policies and common practices.
  3. Assimilate feedback and perspectives from different sources.
  4. Develop a diversity, equity, and inclusion interface to provide visual comprehension of current practices.
  5. Continue learning and educating on intersectionality in the workplace and implement awareness initiatives and programs.

A proactive approach to intersectional discrimination is a necessity to build an equitable and inclusive workplace. Organizations that incorporate such awareness into practice will reap the rewards of the employees’ wellbeing.

How to prove Intersectional Discrimination in the Workplace

Intersectional discrimination combines two or more of these legally protected factors, so proving intersectional discrimination depends on the existence of protected factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, age, and disability. With the recent awareness being brought to light on intersectional discrimination, courts are also moving away from their single-axis dichotomy. Marginalization, exclusion, and discrimination through inequities brought on by two or more of these biases can be litigated successfully in court.

The Lawyers at Zeff Law Firm Handle Cases of Intersectional Discrimination and all Workplace Discrimination Cases

If you feel you have been a victim of intersectional discrimination, speak to one of workplace discrimination experts at Zeff Law Firm. We have over 30 years of successfully litigating employment law. At Zeff Law Firm, we will champion your cause, and will seek the justice you deserve. Contact Zeff Law Firm today and put our team at the forefront of your intersectional discrimination claim.


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