The truth is that virtually everyone needs a paying job in order to make a living and it’s getting tougher every year to get and hold one. The last thing that you need is to have to deal with extra stress or difficulties on your job because either your employer or coworkers discriminated against you.
Discrimination can arise in many work situations. You might get passed over for a raise or promotion. You could also get mistreated at work by your boss or other workers because of your race, age, sex, or religion. In addition, you may get harassed by your fellow workers because of a personal characteristic. Of course, you might not even be considered for a job at all, due to discrimination in favor of less qualified applicants.
Fortunately, there are a variety of federal, state and local laws that protect workers against employment discrimination. Federal laws protecting workers and job applicants started to be passed in the early 1960’s. These laws – The Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act , among others – work together to protect workers against discrimination or harassment based on a person’s age, disability, race or color, religion or creed, sex or gender, pregnancy, or national origin.
Most states and some local governments have enacted similar discrimination laws, frequently called Fair Employment Practices Acts, or Employment Discrimination Acts. These state and local laws may provide for the coverage of smaller employers than the federal laws.
For example, while the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act both cover private employers that employ 15 or more workers, your state job discrimination law may cover employers that employ fewer than 15 workers.
The state and local job discrimination laws may also cast a wider net over employer practices that might be considered to be illegal. Employment practices that might be covered by such laws may include: hiring or firing, employee compensation, transfer or layoff, promotion, right to fringe benefits, accommodation of disabilities or individual religious practices, harassment, or retaliation. In this way, the federal, state and local laws work together to give workers and job applicants the broadest possible protection against discriminatory work practices.
An employee can seek protection under any federal, state or local job discrimination law that covers the employee’s work situation and discrimination claims. For that reason, it is important that all workers have some understanding of employment discrimination laws.
By Richard B Gallagher – To learn more about federal, state and local laws that protect you against workplace discrimination, get my free report “Employment Discrimination” by clicking here