: to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit
: to make a difference in treatment on a basis prohibited by law (as national origin, race, sex, religion, age, or disability) see also bona fide occupational qualification , equal protection , reverse discrimination , suspect class Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the Important Laws section amendment xiv to the Constitution in the back matter
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.