Employment Lawyers Fighting for Workers’ Rights in New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Throughout the United States

What Is Reverse Discrimination?

People sometimes refer to situations in which people who are members of a majority or advantaged group are discriminated against because of their race, gender or other protected characteristic as reverse discrimination. Typically, these claims arise in education or employment. While reverse discrimination is not expressly described in civil rights laws, the lawsuits are normally brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If you believe that you have been the victim of reverse discrimination, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler might be able to help you.

What is reverse discrimination?

Reverse discrimination occurs when members of a historically advantaged group are discriminated against based on a protected characteristic such as gender or race. This might include men who are given less favorable treatment at their jobs as compared to women because of their gender or Caucasians who are discriminated against because of their race. While affirmative action programs are justified historically, they may inadvertently violate discrimination laws if they have a disparate impact on members of the majority group.

Reverse discrimination might include the following scenarios:

  • Promoting or hiring minorities regardless of the qualifications of male or Caucasian applicants or employees
  • Hiring women because of their gender instead of equally qualified men
  • Favoring older workers and refusing to hire people under age 40
  • Admitting minority applicants only on the basis of race while rejecting majority applicants

Schedule an appointment today. Call (856) 685-7420 or

Schedule an appointment today.
Call (856) 685-7420 or

Reverse discrimination in employment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of national origin, religion, gender, sex and race. Title VII also prohibits employers from creating policies that have a disparate impact on protected class members. In cases involving members of a favored majority, courts have interpreted this law differently.

It is not easy to prove claims of reverse discrimination. Plaintiffs must prove that their employers actually discriminated against them based on a protected characteristic. Plaintiffs must also be able to prove the following elements:

  • The plaintiff is in a protected class;
  • Employees who are not members of the plaintiff’s protected class who are similarly situated are treated more favorably;
  • The employer discriminates against the majority or privileged groups; and
  • The plaintiff had a satisfactory job performance or was qualified for the position.

The Supreme Court and reverse discrimination

Affirmative action in college admissions was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In the 1978 case, a Caucasian applicant to a medical school claimed the university’s use of race for admissions purposes was discriminatory. The court ruled that race is one of several factors that colleges can use for admissions, but they could not use quotas for any single factor.

The court again ruled that affirmative action programs for college admissions were lawful in Fisher v. University of Texas in 2016. In that case, a Caucasian woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas sued the school for allegedly violating the Equal Protection Clause. The court found that the admissions program that was used did not violate the Constitution, however.

Contact Swartz Swidler

If you believe that you were turned down for a job or a promotion because of an impermissible factor, you may file a discrimination charge against your employer with your state’s anti-discrimination agency or with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Your claim will depend on the facts of what happened as well as the applicable regulations and laws. To learn more about whether you might have a valid claim, contact the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler to schedule a consultation.

Most Frequently Asked Question: Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is to contact one of our attorneys. For more information check out the FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page

Most Frequently Asked Question:
Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is contact one of our attorneys. For more information on a just a few scenarios checkout the flip box FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page.

Our Locations

Cherry Hill Headquarters

1101 Kings Hwy N
Suite 402
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733

Our Locations

Cherry Hill Headquarters

1101 Kings Hwy N
Suite 402
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733