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Federal Employment Discrimination Laws

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Federal Employment Discrimination Laws

There are a large number of federal employment discrimination laws that prohibit many forms of discrimination against many different groups of people. Many of these laws apply to different types of employers. As an employer, it is important to know what laws you are subject to.  So, here's a very brief listing of a few of the major federal employment discrimination laws and who they apply to. 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII prohibits discrimination based on a variety of factors, including race, sex, and national origin. Title VII is probably the broadest and most important federal employment discrimination law and applies to all of the following:

  • The federal government
  • State government as well as their agencies
  • Private employers who have 15 or more employees
  • Employment agencies
  • Labor organizations

The Equal Pay Act (EPA)

The EPA requires that men and women who perform the same (or substantially same) work be paid equally. The EPA essentially applies to all employers. 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

The ADEA makes it unlawful to discriminate against individuals who are 40 years old or older. The ADEA does not apply to state governments or their agencies. Rather, the ADEA applies to:

  • The federal government
  • Private employers with 20 or more employees
  • Employment agencies
  • Labor unions

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination based on those disabilities. While the ADA does not apply to the federal government or state governments, it does apply to the following types of employers:

  • Private employers with 15 or more employees
  • Local governments and their agencies
  • Employment agencies
  • Labor unions

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)

The IRCA makes it illegal to discriminate against someone one the basis of his or her citizenship or national origin. The IRCA applies to any employer that has 4 or more employees. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA requires certain amounts of leave be granted for family and/or medical reasons, such as sickness and maternal leave. The FMLA applies to employers that have 50 or more employees or that are engaged in interstate commerce. 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Employment discrimination laws are very complex. On top of this complexity, there are a large number of federal laws in addition to all the state laws that exist. The above are just a few laws and brief overviews of who they apply to. An experienced employment discrimination lawyer can help you in determining which laws will apply to you and what to do if someone accuses you of discrimination.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-05-2015 11:12 AM PDT

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