George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Discrimination Defined

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is any impermissible act or failure to act, based wholly or in part on membership in a protected class, which adversely affects existing privileges, benefits or working conditions and results in the disparate treatment of—or has a disparate impact on—members of the Mason community.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, as well as retaliation against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, and/or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.


At Mason, Compliance, Diversity and Ethics (CDE) investigates alleged discrimination based on:

  • Age (40 or older)
  • Color
  • Gender
  • Genetic Information
  • Marital Status
  • Mental Disability
  • National Origin
  • Physical Disability
  • Pregnancy Status
  • Protected Veteran Status
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Click here to view prohibited types of discrimination. 

Click here for sample instances of discrimination.


Discrimination has a far-reaching impact on lives, careers, and the overall educational experience. Submitting or providing false or misleading information to CDE with the goal of personal gain, or the intentional harm of another, in connection with a complaint of discrimination is prohibited.

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