Fair Employment and Discrimination – Overview of Federal Laws
Under federal law, many employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on certain protected traits. Employers with 15 or more employees may not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or genetic information. Employers with at least 20 employees are also prohibited from discriminating based on age against individuals who are age 40 or older. In addition, all employers are subject to equal pay requirements.
This Compliance Overview provides a high-level summary of the federal laws that protect employees and applicants from employment discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces these laws and may file charges or initiate federal court lawsuits against employers that violate them. In discrimination lawsuits, courts may award compensatory and punitive damages to individuals who are adversely affected by an employer’s violation.
Federal laws prohibit employment discrimination based on certain protected traits.
Adverse employment actions are illegal if motivated in any way by a protected trait.
Unlawful discrimination includes practices that unintentionally disadvantage protected individuals.
Employers may be required to reasonably accommodate disabilities or religious practices.
Employers must post a notice in locations accessible to all applicants and employees.
Employers with 100 or more employees must file annual reports with the EEOC.