Discrimination in Employment: Basic Information

The federal and state governments have enacted certain laws that prohibit an employer from discriminating against its employees on virtually any aspect, outside of the quality of work of the employee or the nature of his personality. Below is an introduction to the law of employment discrimination.

Race, nationality, gender, and religion

The law-known anti-discrimination in employment, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers with fifteen or more employees to discriminate on the basis of race, nationality, gender or religion. Under Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer to take any of the following measures against an employee because of their race, nationality, gender or religion:

  • refuse to hire him;
  • disciplining the child;
  • fire;
  • deny you training;
  • deny you a promotion;
  • pay less or break it down position;
  • harass him.

In addition, it is illegal for the employer to adopt a policy or practice that has a “measurable impact” on a protected class. (See also: discriminatory practices.)

Other types of discrimination under Title VII

The prohibition of discrimination on the basis of gender includes discrimination because of pregnancy. However, contrary to popular belief, the Title VII not only prohibits discrimination against women and members of minority groups, but also prohibits the discrimination of applicants or employees, men or whites.

Wage discrimination

The Equal Pay Act, which is a federal law, requires that every employer subject to the Law of Reasonable Standards of Work (the federal law relevant to wages and hours of work) to provide equal pay to both men and women that perform the “same work”, unless the difference of the remuneration relates to differences in seniority, merit or other factors that are not the sex of the person.

Age discrimination

The Law against Employment Discrimination by Age (Age Discrimination in Employment Act, ADEA) prohibits discrimination against employees or applicants forty years or more for an employer with twenty or more employees. An employee may file a claim under the ADEA if it has been fired or forced to resign, and his replacement is an employee younger. However, unlike the cases of Title VII, many courts have determined that the ADEA does not prohibit practices that have a “measurable impact” on older employees. Instead, the ADEA only prohibits discrimination deliberately against older workers.

Disability discrimination

The Americans with Disabilities Act (Americans With Disabilities Act, ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination by private employers with over fifteen employees, and the Rehabilitation Act applied to all government entities and federal contractors.

Unlike other civil rights laws that protect classes which are easily identifiable, such as race or gender, in order to be protected by the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, the employee or the applicant must demonstrate that he suffers a disability, has a record of disability, or an employer considered him disabled.

Discrimination by nationality

The Law of Control and Immigration Reform prohibits employers with more than three employees from discriminating because of their nationality to a u.s. citizen or a “citizen of future” (a person who works legally but is not yet a citizen of the united States). The law was enacted at the same time the government toughened the penalties for employers who hire illegal aliens. The purpose of the law was to prevent employers may react exaggeratedly to the new laws and refused to hire anyone who appears foreign.

Claims of discrimination: The EEOC and “administrative remedies”

With the exception of the Equal Pay Act and the Control Act and Immigration Reform, all of the anti-discrimination laws described above require that any person (whether an employee or applicant) who believes that he has been discriminated against to exhaust all “administrative remedies” before filing a lawsuit. This means that a person who wishes to file a claim under Title VII, the ADEA, the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act must first file your claim before the Commission for Equal Opportunities in Employment (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC) or a state agency affiliated, which may investigate the claim and take action or advise the employee to hire an attorney and continue with the process.

State and local laws

Various states, counties and municipalities have enacted anti-discrimination laws that often apply to all employers, regardless of that they have few employees. The majority of these statutes generate additional protected classes, such as gay and lesbian, persons who have received social assistance, people married and not married, and people with children.

Legal help with a claim for discrimination

If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer or potential employer, either as an applicant or employee, it is important that you discuss the situation with a lawyer who specializes in labor law to better safeguard their legal rights. In view of the time limits of the filing of the EEOC mentioned above, find a lawyer as soon as possible will ensure that you do not lose your right to a legal remedy.

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