A Beginner’s Guide to Workplace Discrimination Laws

Workplace discrimination is a large topic. Wide ranging. Full spectrum. Workplace discrimination lawyers have to study years upon years to be fully versed in this area of law. Still, I’ll give you a brief overview of the topic by discussing some of the most significant workplace discrimination laws.

Here are a few workplace discrimination laws:

  • Title VII

Created in the sixties, this part of the original Civil Rights Act has been instrumental in determining numerous court cases in the United States. Workplace discrimination laws pertaining to race, color, sex, religion, national origin and more are included in this pivotal grouping of the federal legislation.

  • Equal Pay Act

In an attempt to breakup the “old boys club” that had been dominating the American business landscape, the Equal Pay Act was created to make it illegal to pay a woman less than a man when they are performing substantially equal work in the exact same position.

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Employers cannot discriminate against workers based on their age. This law was created to protect employees over the age of 40 years. The law was enacted as many employers began to fire older employees simply due to their age and not their performance.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act was designed to protect qualified individuals with disabilities from finding employment. This act also includes legislation about making reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 offers protections to potential employees of the federal government. Government entities cannot discriminate against employees with disabilities due to this federal law.

  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

A newer workplace discrimination law, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was created in 2008. The federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on genetic information about the individual.

  • Civil Rights Act of 1991

This law was passed in response to United States Supreme Court decisions that limited employee’s ability to sue their employers for discrimination. The act provided the right to trial by jury and allowed for emotional distress damages. This law also placed a cap on punitive damages that could be awarded by the jury.

Where Workplace Discrimination Laws Come Into Play

Luckily, these federal laws usually pertain to every single aspect of the employment process. Workplace discrimination laws are valid in the court of law when dealing with:

  • Hiring practices
  • Firing
  • Compensation
  • Assignment
  • Classification
  • Recruitment
  • Advertisements
  • Testing
  • Transfers
  • Promotions
  • Fringe benefits
  • Pay
  • Retirement plans
  • Training
  • Use of company facilities

…And much more!

How to Handle Workplace Discrimination

If you believe you’ve experienced workplace discrimination, then the first step is to detail the discrimination and attempt to gather as much evidence as possible.

Next, get in touch with a few workplace discrimination lawyers and set up initial consultations. You need to work with an attorney you’re comfortable with.

Your lawyer should be able to ascertain if you have a viable case based on workplace discrimination laws. If so, your lawyer will be able to help you determine the next steps.