Anti-discrimination Laws Enforced by the EEOC

All qualified individuals in the US, on the basis of educational qualification, job experience, expertise, etc., have the right to equal employment opportunities. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEO), which was established by the US Congress in 1964, was given the primary task of protecting and promoting employees’ rights through the strict enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (made into law also in 1964), which prohibits any form of discriminatory practices in the workplace on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin, and other laws that forbid job discrimination.

During the years that have passed since its enactment, a number of amendments have been made in the Civil Rights Act in consideration of the many cultural and economic changes and developments seen taking place in the US. Other laws were passed too to address other issues concerning illegal treatment of job applicants and employees. Thus, with the intent of giving worth to all individual skills and recognizing the possible contributions anyone can add to the growth of a firm, in particular, and the nation’s economic growth in general, the following amendments and laws were deemed necessary:

  • Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 protects men and women from sex-based wage discrimination by requiring employers to give the same amount of pay to individuals (regardless of their gender) who perform the same work in the same establishment
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 protects job applicants and employees who are aged 40 or above
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities, but who are definitely qualified. This covers employers in the private sector, state government and local government
  • Title II of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA) of 2008, which forbids employment discrimination due to one’s genetic information
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1991, which allows victims of intentional employment discrimination to claim monetary damages
  • The inclusion of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgender (LGBT) in the list of classes protected from discriminatory practices by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

All these laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which also has the duty of coordinating all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, policies and practices. The website of lawyer Larry Cary gives detailed information about all the issues revolving around employment discrimination, how discriminatory acts are committed and the legal options of the victim of such acts.

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