1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e and following) prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin (including membership in a Native American tribe). It also prohibits employers from retaliating against anapplicant or employee who asserts his or her rights under the law. To learn more about retaliation, see Nolo's articlePreventing Retaliation Claims by Employees.
Title VII prohibits discrimination in all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, benefits, job assignments, promotions, and discipline. Title VII also prohibits practices that seem neutral buthave a disproportionate impact on a protected group of people. Such a practice is legal only if the employer has a valid reason for using it. For example, a strength requirement might be legal -- even thoughit excludes disproportionate numbers of women -- if an employer is using it to fill a job that requires heavy lifting. Such a requirement would not be valid for a desk job, however.
Title VIImakes it illegal to harass someone on the basis of a protected characteristic (race, sex, and so on). For information on sexual harassment and tips on preventing it, see Nolo's articlePreventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.
Title VII applies to employers that fit into the following categories:
private employers with at least 15 employees
state governments and their political subdivisionsand agencies
the federal government
labor organizations, and
joint labor-management committees and other training programs.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII. The EEOC has offices throughout the country. To find the office nearest you, and to learn more about Title VII and other antidiscrimination laws, log on to the EEOC's websiteat www.eeoc.gov.
2. Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) can be found at 29 U.S.C. 621-634. It prohibits discrimination based on age against employees who are at least 40 years old. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against an applicant or employee for asserting his or her rights under the ADEA. To learn more about retaliation, seeNolo's articlePreventing Retaliation Claims by Employees.
The ADEA prohibits age discrimination in all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, job assignments, shift assignments, discipline, and promotions. A separate law, the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act (OWBPA), protects employees over the age of 40 from discrimination in benefits.
The ADEA applies toprivate employers with at least 20 employees, the federal government, interstate agencies, employment agencies, and labor unions. Although the ADEA also protects state government employees, these employees may not file lawsuits claiming age discrimination -- they may assert their rights only through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC enforces the ADEA. To find an EEOCoffice near you, and to learn more about the ADEA, log onto the EEOC's website at www.eeoc.gov.
3. Americans With Disabilities Act.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) can be found at 42 U.S.C. 12101-12213. It prohibits employers from discriminating against people with disabilities in any aspect of employment, including applications, interviews, testing, hiring, job assignments, evaluations,compensation, leave, benefits, discipline, training, promotions, medical exams, layoffs, and firing. (For information on complying with the ADA during the hiring process, see Nolo's articleAvoid Disability Discrimination When Hiring New Employees.)
The ADA protects not only applicants and employees with disabilities; it also protects those who have a history of disability and those who are...