Protected Characteristics

Understanding and Expanding Workforce Diversity

Apprenticeship helps employers attract and retain a skilled workforce, and American apprenticeship programs are most effective when they include individuals from all backgrounds. The apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations require that sponsors of apprenticeship programs avoid discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, age (40 and older), sexual orientation and genetic information. Expanding diversity establishes a culture of inclusion and promotes success for both apprentices and businesses.

The pages depicted below include information on the characteristics protected from discrimination under the apprenticeship EEO regulations. Visit these pages to:

  • Understand more about protections from discrimination
  • Learn tips for avoiding discrimination, harassment and retaliation in apprenticeship programs
  • Access resources to promote inclusion in recruiting, hiring and retaining apprentices

Protected Characteristics

EEO Complaint Procedures

If you are an apprentice or apprenticeship applicant and believe that you are being or have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), sexual orientation, age (40 or older), genetic information, or disability, that you have been retaliated against, you can file a written complaint with the program’s registration agency. Learn about the EEO Complaint Procedures on the Complaints Information page.

The apprenticeship EEO regulations require sponsors to take certain concrete steps to ensure their hiring practices are free from discrimination. Tips for Avoiding Discrimination in Apprenticeship Recruiting and Hiring and Non-discriminatory Apprenticeship Selection Procedures provide practical suggestions for sponsors.

Additional Resources