The objectives of employment discrimination laws are to prevent discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, and other protected classes and to provide protection to employees who are being discriminated against.
Discriminatory practices include retaliation, prejudice in hiring, firing, compensation, job assignment, promotion, and other aspects of employment, as well as various forms of harassment.
The following is a list of federal employment discrimination laws:
- Section 1981 of the U.S. Code
This provides further remedies from the federal government to prevent intentional discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Section 1981 was amended in 1991, providing the vital elements for proving disparate impact claims and allowing a jury to give compensatory and punitive damages in cases of intentional discrimination.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII prohibits discrimination based on race, sex (includes childbirth, pregnancy, or other related medical conditions), religion, national origin, or color in various aspects of employment. Some of these aspects include hiring, compensating, firing, benefits, and other privileges, terms and conditions of employment. It applies to employment agencies, labor organizations, and most employers with 15 or more employees that are engaged in interstate commerce. Employment agencies are not allowed to discriminate when referring or hiring applicants. Title VII also prohibits labor organizations from basing union classifications or membership on the protected classes.
- Nineteenth Century Civil Rights Acts
Amended in 1993, it ensures all individuals equal rights under the law and outlines the damages that are available to complainants in legal actions brought under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
- Equal Pay Act
This act, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1963, prohibits unions and employers from paying different wages on the basis of an employee's sex. It does not forbid other discriminatory practices in the hiring aspect. It presents that if employees do equal work in jobs that require equal responsibility, effort, and skill and is done under similar working conditions, the employees must be paid equally.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers fro, discriminating against individuals based on age. It provides protection to employees who are ages 40 and above from discrimination.
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
This act is intended to expand and promote employment opportunities in the private and public sectors for individuals who are disabled by eliminating discrimination and affirmative action programs. It covers federal government agencies and employers that receive federal financial assistance or federal contracts more than $2,500.
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
Enacted by Congress, this act intends to eliminate discrimination against individuals who have disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of mental or physical impairments. It applies to state governments and employers that are engaged in interstate commerce.
- Black Lung Act
The Black Lung Act prohibits any form of discrimination by mine operators against miners suffering from pneumoconiosis, also referred to as "black lung."
It is advisable that you hire a skilled employment law attorney to help you with any legal issues you have concerning employee rights and benefits.