Protected Class Definitions

Definitions of the Protected Classes

Click on a protected class to see the definition and an example of a discriminatory practice.

Race

Refers to a family, tribe, or group of people coming from the same common ancestors.
–  Example: Discrimination against African-Americans by a Caucasian apartment manager.

Color

Refers to the color of an individual’s skin
–  Example: Discrimination against dark-skinned African-Americans by light-skinned African-Americans.

Religion

Refers to all aspects of religious belief, observance, and practice
–  Example: Discriminating against non-Catholics (Muslim, Buddhist, etc.) because of their religion.

Sex

Includes gender (male or female), gender identity, and gender expression.  Also includes, but is not limited to, pregnancy, childbirth, or conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Gender Expression:  a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.
–  Example of Gender Expression: A man that dresses in woman’s clothing.

Gender Identity: refers to one’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman.
–  Example of Gender Identity: An individual with a birth-assigned sex of male, but views himself as female.

National Origin

Refers to the country in which a person was born, or from which the person’s ancestors came.
–  Example: Discrimination against a Puerto Rican individual by a Mexican property owner.

Familial Status

Refers to a situation where there is one or more persons under age 18 who reside with a parent, legal guardian, etc.  This also applies in the case of pregnancy or for people who are in the process of gaining legal custody of a person under age 18.
–  Example: Forcing families with children to live on the first floor, or not renting to individuals with young children.

Disability

Refers to both physical and mental disabilities.
–  Example: Not allowing a disabled individual to have a service animal in his apartment.

Age

Refers to the length of time a person has been alive.
–  Example: Not renting to individuals over or under a certain age.

Marital Status

Refers to being single, married, divorced, or widowed.
–  Example: Not allowing an unmarried couple to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

Ancestry

Refers to an individual’s line of descent or lineage.
–  Example: Discrimination against British individuals in America.

Source of Income

Applies to lawful, verifiable income paid directly to the tenant.
–  Example: Not renting to an individual that receives social security benefits as his income.

Sexual Orientation

Refers to heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.
–  Example: Not renting to homosexual individuals.

Genetic Information

Refers to a landlord requesting information about genetic traits of an individual or the family.
–  Example: Not renting to an individual with Down Syndrome or an individual with red hair.

Arbitrary Factors

Refers to a random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
–  Example: Not renting to an individual because he or she has tattoos.

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