The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution limit the power of the federal and state governments to discriminate. The Fifth amendment has an explicit requirement that the federal government not deprive individuals of "life, liberty, or property," without due process of the law. See U.S. Const. amend. V. It also contains an implicit guarantee that each person receive equal protection of the laws. The Fourteenth Amendment explicitly prohibits states from violating an individual's rights of due process and equal protection. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV. In the employment context the right of equal protection limits the power of the state and federal governments to discriminate in their employment practices by treating employees, former employees, or job applicants unequally because of membership in a group (such as a race or sex). Due process protection requires that employees have a fair procedural process before they are terminated if the termination is related to a "liberty" (such as the right to free speech) or property interest. State constitutions may also afford protection from employment discrimination.
Discrimination in the private sector is not directly constrained by the Constitution, but has become... [continues]
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