Employment Discrimination

What does Employment Discrimination mean?

Employment discrimination is the unfair treatment of an individual in a workplace based on who the person is rather than the job qualifications the person possesses or the person's performance on the job. Discrimination can occur against an individual from the employer, other employees, or a combination of both.

Various laws at both the federal and state levels define the classes or attributes of a person against which discrimination is prohibited. At the federal level, these classes include but may not be limited to the following: age, citizenship, bankruptcy, disabilities, genetic information, military service, nationality, pregnancy, race, religion, or sex. At the state level, the following classes may also be protected: gender identity, height, marital status, medical condition, political party, sexual orientation, or weight.

Employment discrimination laws apply to employers in both the public and private sector. Many of the employment discrimination laws apply to all public sector employers and only private sector employers who employ a minimum number of individuals. The minimum number of individuals varies by law but typically it is only one or two dozen employs before the employer must abide by the employment discrimination laws.

The discrimination laws that apply to an individual are based on the state where the individual works rather than the location where the employer is based. Therefore, when determining which employment discrimination laws apply to a given employee, the employee would consider all federal employment discrimination laws and only the employment discrimination laws for the state where the individual is employed.

In cases where both federal and state laws prohibit employment discrimination of a protected class, the more stringent law would take precedence in protecting the individual from discrimination.

The most well known federal law prohibiting employment discrimination is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII specifically prohibits employment discrimination based on a person's color, national original, race, religion, or sex.

In addition, to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there are various other federal employment discrimination laws. These laws include but are not limited to the following.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act makes it illegal to discriminate against an employ based on the employ's age when that employ is 40 years old or older.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employment discrimination against an individual based on a physical or mental impairment.

The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 prohibits employment discrimination against an individual who has declared bankruptcy or otherwise taken steps to discharge specific debts.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 requires that employers pay employees a minimum wage and overtime pay for certain types of jobs, and prohibits the hiring of minors below a certain age for certain types of jobs.

The Family Medical Leave Act requires that an employer allow an employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every 12 months for certain specifically-defined medical situations, including adopting a child, caring for certain loved ones with serious illnesses, or the employee himself experiencing a serious illness.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act prohibits employers from hiring individuals who are in the United States illegally, as well as preventing employers from practicing employment discrimination against aliens who are lawfully in the United States.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from practicing employment discrimination against an employee who is pregnant or undergoes certain pregnancy-related medical issues.

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