What federal laws protect an employee from discrimination?

Author: Shannon C. Johnson

A number of federal laws protect employees from discrimination such as:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (prohibits employment discrimination based on race; color; religion; sex, which includes pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity; and national origin);
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) (protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination);
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older);
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector and in state and local governments);
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act (prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government);
  • Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) (prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information of an applicant, employee or former employee);
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) (prohibits discrimination against members of the military);
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (prohibits discrimination against employees who have taken or requested family and medical leave); and
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) (prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of citizenship).

In addition, many state and local laws go beyond federal law by protecting employees from discrimination based on parental status, marital status, political affiliation and other characteristics.