They passed a law in ‘64 to give those “who ain’t got a little more.” The landmark Civil Rights Act also prohibited most forms of employment discrimination. Over the years, Congress expanded and strengthened these prohibitions with a series of supplemental laws.

However, over fifty years later, employment discrimination is still rather common in South Carolina. Some employers blatantly disregard these rules and do what they feel is best for their own profits. Other employers enact policies without thinking about how they affect individual workers.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is supposed to enforce anti-discrimination laws, but the agency often refuses to do so. In these cases, a Greenville employment lawyer can stand up for you.

Sexual Orientation

In the 1960s, most people, including most policymakers, considered sexual orientation to be a black and white issue. Today, we understand that the LGBTQ+ spectrum is very broad.

The Supreme Court has yet to rule on this issue. Yet a number of cases, most notably 1988’s Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, suggest that the CRA’s sexual orientation prohibition also applies to transgender and other individuals. 

Since the law is so vague and these cases might not jive with the EEOC’s political agenda, this agency often refuses to stand up for LGBTQ+ discrimination victims. So, if the EEOC declines to represent you, that does not mean your case is meritless.


Frequently, restaurants and other hospitality/foodservice companies have no-beard policies. Such policies might discriminate against certain racial minorities who often experience razor burns and other painful skin conditions.

On a related note, some people wear certain hairstyles or don certain clothing for religious reasons. These customs often violate company dress codes, be they have written or unwritten ones. If firmly-held religious beliefs conflict with a dress code, religious beliefs always prevail.

Additionally, some companies have English-only policies. These policies could be formal or informal. Such rules obviously discriminate against workers whose first language is not English. These employers can only enforce these rules if they have a legitimate business reason.


The rule itself is straightforward. Employers cannot take adverse action against workers, or potential workers, because of their age, if they are over 40.

But there are complications. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court made it more difficult to win these cases. As a result, some employers are more aggressive when it comes to age discrimination. Specifically, they are more willing to replace older workers with younger ones. Such activity is usually, but not always, illegal.


The most common EEOC discrimination charge does not involve discrimination at all. Employers might retaliate against employees who complain about illegal discrimination or employees who support such complaints.


Sometimes, people discriminate because they honestly believe they are doing the right thing. Paternalistic pregnancy discrimination is a good example.

Assume Patty, who works with industrial solvents, announces she is pregnant. Her employer, citing concerns for her unborn child, transfers Patty to another position.

If that transfer involved lower pay, a less-desirable shift, or any other step down, it was discriminatory. The employer’s good intentions are irrelevant. Besides, the decision to transfer belongs to Patty and her family, not to Patty’s employer.

Employment discrimination is still a serious problem in South Carolina. For a confidential consultation with an experienced employment law attorney in Greenville, contact the Briggs Law Firm. After-hours visits are available.

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