How to Tell if You Are Protected from Employment Discrimination
There is general notion that everyone is protected from employment discrimination. However, there are classes of people protected by the law as well as given types of business.
The laws prohibiting employment discrimination are enforced by several agencies led by U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Department of Justice. They protect job applicants and employees against discrimination at workplace that include;
- Unfair treatment with respect to gender (includes pregnancy), race, religion, national origin, color, disability genetic information and age (if over 40)
- Harassment by co-workers and managers or others at the workplace because of gender (includes pregnancy), race, religion, national origin, color, disability genetic information and age (if over 40)
- Denial of a reasonable accommodation at the workplace due to disability and religious beliefs
- Retaliation when an employee seeks assistance with a lawsuit or a job discrimination investigation.
State and federal laws give the agencies powers to enforce anti-discriminatory activities or employees to bring lawsuits against employers or prospective employers. Discriminatory practices involve bias when hiring, promotions, assigning jobs, employment termination, during compensation, retaliation and other forms of harassment.
The federal law is the main source of anti-discriminatory laws. Other sources include:
- Fourth and Fourteenth amendments of the US constitution prohibit some forms of discrimination and create the basis for the law
- Section 1981 of the U.S code that provides specific remedies to prevent intentional harassment and discrimination at the workplace
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits other forms of discrimination in an employment relationship.
- Equal Pay Act prohibits paying different salaries to employees based on sex.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of age especially employees over 40 years. It has pension and retirement benefit guidelines
- Rehabilitation Act that aims at promoting and expanding employment opportunities for the handicapped in public and private sectors among other laws. It covers organizations that receive federal monetary assistance.
- Americans with Disabilities Act that prohibits discrimination against the handicapped.
EEOC does not enforce these laws to all the employers, as not all of the laws cover all of them. It depends on the employer, the number of employees and type of discrimination.
A job applicant or employee who feels that they have been discriminated should file a Charge of Discrimination with EEOC before going to court. The EEOC enforces all other laws except Equal Pay Act. There are strict timelines for filing a charge. It is advisable to seek the help of an attorney in the process of filing for discrimination. Contact an employment law attorney at The Cooper Law Firm today to obtain a free case evaluation and find out what your options are moving forward.