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Employment Discrimination



Employment discrimination is the differing treatment of people in the workplace based on innate characteristics, such as gender, race or religion. A series of federal and state laws has been passed to combat the practice. These include the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion and other criteria), the Equal Pay Act (gender), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

More modern federal employment discrimination statutes protect more narrow constituencies, such as those suffering from genetic diseases (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008) and even black lung disease sufferers (the “Black Lung Act”).

State employment discrimination laws sometimes go farther and protect people from discrimination based on additional factors like sexual orientation, marital status, military status, religious observances and even certain types of criminal histories.

The types of employment discrimination prohibited by federal statute apply to all medium-sized and large companies. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.