Over the course of the past several years, many laws have been enacted to deal with the ongoing problem of workplace discrimination. In broadest terms, these laws prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee on almost any grounds except as it relates to job performance or personality.
The best known of these laws is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that any employer with 15 or more employees may not discriminate against someone based on their race, national origin, religion or gender. Title VII makes it illegal to refuse to hire or fire someone, deny training or promotions, harass, demote or pay them less based on these characteristics. An employer cannot also enact a policy or conduct a screening test that tends to screen out minorities or women as well, unless it involves a bona fide occupational qualification.
Several other laws have been passed that also protect people from various forms of discrimination. Some of those laws include:
- The Age Discrimination Act (ADEA) that prohibits discrimination against employees or applicants who are 40 years old or older.
- The Equal Pay Act requires an employer who is already subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide equal pay for both men and women who perform equal work. It does not cover other factors such as seniority, merit or other factors unrelated to the gender of a worker.
- The Americans With Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against a person who is disabled. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating if they have more than 15 employees. The Rehabilitation Act applies to federal contractors and government agencies. Under these laws, a reasonable accommodation must be made for the disability when necessary.
- The Immigration Reform and Control Act stops any employer with more than three employees from discriminating against a U.S. citizen or someone who is in the process of becoming a citizen.
If you have been the victim of discrimination, you should first seek administrative remedies to correct your situation. But if that does not work, you should seek to protect your rights by retaining the services an experienced workplace discrimination attorney.
Raun Muntz O-Grady LLP serves clients in Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Anaheim, Orange County and communities throughout Southern California.