Federal Laws That Prohibit Job Discrimination
Below is an annotated list of the anti-discrimination laws every company should be aware of.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII prohibits discrimination against job applicants and employees on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion and sex — in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, benefits, promotions and discipline. It also prohibits harassment on the basis of a protected class (such as race, sex, etc.) and bars employers from retaliating against job applicants and employees who complain about discrimination or harassment.
Title VII applies to private employers with at least 15 employees and is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Equal Pay Act of 1963
The EPA says that employers must compensate men and women equally if they perform equal work. The job does not have to be exactly the same, but it must be substantially equal. Whether the job is substantially equal is determined by the content of the job, not the job title.
The EPA applies to all employers who are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and is enforced by the EEOC.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Per the ADEA, employers cannot age discriminate against employees who are 40 years or older, nor can they retaliate against an applicant or employee for exercising his or her rights under the ADEA.
The ADEA applies to private employers with at least 20 employees and is enforced by the EEOC.
Title I and Title VII of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Under the ADA, employers cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities, in any employment capacity. This includes applications, interviews, job testing, hiring, evaluations, job assignments, compensation, benefits, discipline, training, promotions, medical exams and terminations.
The ADA covers private employers with at least 15 employees and is enforced by the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
GINA forbids employers from discriminating against applicants, employees and former employees based on their genetic information. It also requires that employers keep genetic information confidential.
The GINA applies to private employers with at least 15 employees and is enforced by the EEOC.
Civil Rights Act of 1991
The 1991 Civil Rights Act is an amendment to — but not a replacement of — the 1964 law. According to the EEOC, among other things, the 1991 Act "provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination."
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 applies to private employers with at least 15 employees and is enforced by the EEOC.
In addition to those laws, there's also:
- The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship.
- The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which forbids wage discrimination based on gender.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which says it's illegal for employers to discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
This is just a summary of lengthy and complex laws. There are other rules, as well as court cases, that affect how discrimination is treated in the workplace. Be sure to keep in close touch with qualified professionals.