Discrimination and Employment Law

What does Discrimination and Employment Law mean?

Employment discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfavorably due to any factor such as race, skin color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or age.
Various laws have been enacted to prohibit job discrimination including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits discrimination against workers based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same workplace from sex-based wage discrimination; and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects workers who are 40 years of age or older. Additional protection for Americans with Disabilities was also enacted in 1990 through Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law was created to eliminate discrimination for workers with disabilities.

Who enforces current employment discrimination laws?

All employment discrimination laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), or the Wage and Hour Division (WHD). These federal agencies have the congressional approval to review and provide oversight for employment practices, policies, enforcement, and regulation.

What does it mean to discriminate?

Employment discriminatory practices can include discriminating in any aspect of employment. For instance, companies who hire, fire, recruit, compensate or classify employees based on race, skin color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or age can be held liable for their discrimination.

Punishment for employment discrimination

Employers who discriminate in the workplace may be subject to fines, litigation costs, and bad publicity. Fines can be very expensive and are imposed by both state and federal agencies such as the EEOC and over federal authorities. Punitive damages, as well as to back pay and compensatory pay, may also be assessed against employers if the EEOC decides the discriminatory practice was willful.

Litigation expenses to combat charges of employment discrimination can also be very high and can include attorney fees, investigative expenses, and lost productivity. Finally, although lost revenue and income may be more difficult to quantify, negative publicity can impact sales and revenue.

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