Despite sweeping cultural shifts in the last few years, inequity in the workplace continues to exist. Discrimination is still a major issue throughout the United States, and it is a concern that the government takes quite seriously—legally speaking, at least. Although few workers are familiar with the technicalities, several critical anti-discrimination laws are actually intended to protect employees from all kinds of discriminatory behavior.
Thanks to laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), federal agencies are not legally allowed to discriminate against employees based upon characteristics such as race, sex, age, color, national origin, pregnancy, and religion.
Another benefit of the EEOC is its ability to protect employees from experiencing retaliation, should they report an incident of discrimination. Thus, whether a person is filing a complaint with the EEOC or participating in an investigation related to a complaint, they will be protected from retaliation by their employers. This makes it possible for many individuals (who might not otherwise have found the risk worth it) to take action against the discrimination they are facing.
5 Legal Protections Against Workplace Discrimination
Again, the EEOC actively enforces several laws intended to protect workers against all forms of discrimination. Here are some examples of those laws.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964As amended, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is intended to help job applicants and employees stay protected from discrimination. More specifically, this discrimination could be based on the individuals’ race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.Title VII is also a highly versatile law, as the protection it provides covers a wide range of key employment decisions. These include termination, recruitment, and selection, as well as other decisions that relate to the terms and conditions of someone’s employment.
- Equal Pay Act of 1963Wage discrimination is just one form of discriminatory behavior in the workplace—however, it is a detrimental one, and it certainly still occurs to this day. In particular, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 is intended to protect American works from wage discrimination based on that person’s biological sex.This particular act applies to both wages and benefits; it also works under the assumption that these workers (regardless of their sex) are performing substantially equal work in the same place of employment. As such, it should follow that these individuals will be paid a similar or identical salary and receive similar or identical benefits. If there seems to be a difference between the male and female workers, it could be an instance of wage discrimination—and the Equal Pay Act is in place to help defend individuals in that position.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967On laws relating to specific forms of discrimination, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 is another important example. As the name implies, this act is intended to protect workers from discrimination in the workplace based on their age.This law is also known simply as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Once a worker passes the age of 40, they will be under the protection of the ADEA. Unfortunately, it isn’t unheard of for employers to mistreat older employees, maybe even firing or affording fewer responsibilities to an employee as they age. If an individual ever suspects that this is what’s happening to them, the ADEA is in place to defend against this sort of age-based discrimination.Further, it should be noted that the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act was later passed to amend a few of the sections found in the ADEA. This more recent act was also put in place to establish waiver conditions regarding ADEA protections.
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973More specifically, we are referring to Section 501 and Section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act. As amended, these particular sections are intended to protect disabled employees from discrimination based upon their disability.This law protects actively employed individuals as well as prospective job applicants. In addition, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act dictate that federal agencies must provide employees with reasonable accommodations if those workers have disabilities that they’ve openly reported to their employer. The only exception to this rule is if the accommodation in question would require some level of undue hardship.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1991Most recently, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was put into law. This act was created to amend a series of sections in Title VII of 1964’s Civil Rights Act. In essence, these amendments are intended to improve and strengthen laws initially put in place by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.This key amendment is also intended to aid in the recovery of compensatory damages whenever an individual is involved in a case of intentional employment discrimination (assuming the case reaches the federal sector).
The Law Protects You Against Workplace Discrimination
Being faced with workplace discrimination can feel like a hopeless situation for many individuals. However, remember that if you are being discriminated against in your place of employment, a crime is being committed against you. In addition, several laws exist (and have existed for many years) that are intended to legally protect workers from discrimination based on characteristics such as race, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, and more.
So, simply put, the law is on your side. It’s wise to speak with an experienced attorney when you want to fight the discrimination you’re facing. The legal experts at the California Employment Counsel, for instance, are devoted to protecting workers from discrimination across industries.
Not only does the California Employment Counsel protect against instances of discrimination, but we also work with those experiencing harassment in the workplace, including sexual harassment.
If you’re looking to have your rights protected as a worker, be sure to contact the CA Employment Counsel at your earliest convenience. We will be at your side as you fight the discrimination you’re facing in the workplace. Everyone deserves a safe and fair workplace, and discrimination of any kind is unacceptable.