There are a wide range of Federal and State laws that protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. These anti-discrimination laws prohibit an employer from making big employment related decisions based on the employee's status as a member in certain protected groups of people. An employee may have a claim for employment discrimination if they are discriminated against through hiring, firing, promotions, pay increases, or the conditioning of certain terms and conditions of employment.
Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees whose religious beliefs or disabilities conflict with the conditions of employment.
Generally, employers may discriminate for any reason other than an illegal reason (such as discrimination based on work performance, attitude, tardiness, etc.). Here is a list of Federal laws and the type of discrimination they prohibit:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, or religion
Sex discrimination prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, pregnancy, and sexual harassment
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of the employees disability. This includes any actual diagnosed disabilities, prior disabilities, or even the employer's perception that a disability exists
Employers are required by the ADA to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, unless making such accommodation would constitute an undue hardship on the employer
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
Prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy and its related conditions
Equal Pay Act of 1963
Requires employers to pay men and women equal pay for equal work
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
Prohibits discrimination against persons because of their service in the Armed Forces Reserve, the National Guard, or other uniformed services
Provides that employers must reserve the jobs of those uniformed service members who are called to military service
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
Protects workers 40 years of age and over
Prohibits employers from refusing to hire, fire, or otherwise discriminating against workers because of their age (over 40)
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