The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Top 5 Federal Employment Discrimination Laws

Have you ever felt discriminated against while applying for a job or at your place of work? Both employers and employees are subject to federal employment laws that protect them from various forms of employment discrimination.

Below, we’ve included five of the most important federal laws protecting employees from workplace discrimination.

Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that male and female employees receive the same wages for the same work. However, the Act doesn’t address inequality in pay regarding other characteristics like race or age.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals who have long-term mental or physical impairments. The Act requires employers to provide disabled employees with “reasonable accommodations” and prohibits them from making employment decisions based on generalizations about people’s disabilities.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects individuals who are over the age of 40 from age discrimination in hiring, promotions, and firing decisions. However, the Act only applies to employers who have at least 20 employees.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act prohibits employers from penalizing employees who take medical or family leave. Employers must grant their employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for the birth or adoption of a child, or the treatment of a serious health condition. Once the employee returns to work, the employer must reinstate the employee in his old job or an equivalent job if the old job is taken.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or gender in all areas of employment. Employers must make decisions based on “business necessity” rather than based on an individual’s membership in a protected class.

Remember that most states also have laws protecting employees against discrimination. If you have any questions about employment discrimination laws or employment law in general, you may want to consult with an attorney.

Related Resources: