The idea of a lengthy, costly battle over workplace discrimination or harassment is enough to make every employer stay awake at night. Therefore, a beneficial approach is to proactively head these off at the pass.
Being educated on federal laws that (in addition to state laws and local regulations) are designed to guard against these issues can help employers be more proactive in their approach to potential problems.
Federal acts that deal with discrimination and harassment at work
The National Conference of State Legislatures has conveniently made a list of five federal acts that deal with discrimination and harassment in the workplace:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This federal act outlaws discriminating employees because of their color, sex, national origin or race. It also protects employees from retaliation by their employers when bringing forward a claim of discrimination.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act: This federal act amends the section of Title VII dealing with sex. It amplifies sexual discrimination to include many things related to pregnancy, childbirth or a myriad of medical conditions that could arise from either.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA): This federal act ensures that both men and women receive equal pay for equal work.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA): This federal act protects employees who are over 40 years of age and older from being discriminated against based on age.
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): This federal act protects employees with disabilities from being discriminated against at work or during the hiring process.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces the current federal laws regarding harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Determining whether or not an employee has a valid discrimination or harassment complaint can be hard. It can be even harder to defend your company’s interests without help.