Equal Employment Laws

The following laws provide the basic foundation for prohibiting discrimination in the workplace:

Civil Rights Act of 1866

Passed right after the Civil War but the social and political climate at the time caused it to be ineffective. It took another 100 years before discrimination would actually be banned.

Equal Pay Act of 1963

Requires employers to pay equal wages for equal work, regardless of sex.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Probably the most important anti-discrimination law of all time. It bans discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Also, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created as a result of this Act to address complaints/violations of this law.

Executive Order 11246

Bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin by federal contractors/subcontractors with at least $10,000 in contracts.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

Prohibits discrimination against employees age 40 or older. This law was amended in 1975 and in 1986. The 1986 amendment abolished mandatory retirement of employees at any age and expanded coverage of the law to include entire institutions, government entities, and private employers that receive federal funds.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 503 and 504)

Employers who have federal contracts or subcontracts worth more than $25,000 or receive financial assistance are prohibited from discriminating against handicapped individuals and must take affirmative action to employ them.

Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974

Employers who have federal contracts or subcontracts worth $100,000 are prohibited from discrimination against protected veterans. Federal contractors must take affirmative action to hire and promote veterans, disabled veterans and Vietnam era veterans. Employers must grant unpaid leave to employees who have military obligations, whether active or reserve duty. Also, employers must rehire returning veterans into their former jobs with like seniority, status, and pay.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy-related medical conditions and mandates that pregnancy be treated the same as other temporary disabilities.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Bars employers from hiring individuals not authorized to work in the US and prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of their nationality or citizenship status.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for them.

Civil Rights Act of 1991

Amended Title VII and overturned several Supreme Court decisions. It strengthened EEO requirements and expanded remedies and damages that can be awarded when discrimination is found.

D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income, or place of residence or business.