Federal Employment Discrimination Law
Under the federal employment law of the United States, most private employers are prohibited from discriminating against their employees based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Only these classifications are covered. State laws sometimes protect even more classes, such as those with handicaps and different sexual orientations.
The federal law only applies to employers who have more than 15 workers, and only applies to discrimination based on the above classes. It does not apply to classes which are often covered by state laws, such as marital status, handicap, and sexual orientation.
The law does not always prevent employers from using the above classifications when hiring employees. If a person is unable to do the job because of their protected class, the employer may use that fact as a reason not to hire them.
For example, if an employer is seeking people to model men’s clothing, they are probably not going to hire any women for the job. This is because women, by virtue of their sex, are unable to do this job. This exception almost always applies in the area of sex discrimination, but it also comes up with religion.
Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for their employees’ religious observances. However, if the employee requires accommodations which would put a severe burden on the employer, he or she does not have to make the accommodation.
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Last Modified: 11-28-2012 02:32 PM PST