Federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees and from firing anyone who is in any of the protected classes for any discriminatory reason. The 1960s produced groundbreaking laws that make discrimination a punishable offense.
• The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) protects workers who do basically the same work from wage discrimination based on gender. The Lily Ledbetter Act of 2009 was the first bill signed by President Obama, overturning a Supreme Court decision that prevented a worker from suing an employer for pay discrimination.
• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) protects workers from discriminating practices that are based on race, religion, color, gender, or national origin. Sweeping legislation was signed by President Johnson to make discrimination in many areas illegal, including in schools as well as in the workplace.
• The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects workers who have reached the age of 40. In an attempt to protect older workers who were disadvantaged in the workplace, the U.S. Congress presented a bill to President Johnson that made discrimination based on age an illegal act.
• Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination against disabled but qualified workers in the employment of the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services explains that workers who have physical or mental impairments are protected by the law.
• Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (ADA) protect disabled but qualified workers in the private sector as well as in all levels of government.
• The Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides remuneration for intentional discrimination against employees.
• Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) protects workers against employment discrimination related to genetics.
Political Affiliation Protection
Other laws protect employees’ rights to have political opinions. The Federal Trade Commission states that an employer may not influence an employee’s political activity. The Waco Tribune-Herald reported an employment discrimination suit that was filed against a sheriff who fired an employee for supporting his political opponent. The sheriff counters the charge by contending that employees were fired or demoted as a result of a reorganization plan.
A high school in California fired an assistant coach in 2012 when he appeared in photographs wearing female attire. The LA Times reported that he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit based on the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Infringement of employees’ rights is often based on personal opinions or prejudices that are not supported by federal law. The lack of knowledge about the provisions of laws that relate to employment discrimination is no justification for employers to take inappropriate action.
The EEOC has recently settled a disability lawsuit against Dillard’s Inc. for requiring employees to provide confidential medical files as a requisite for getting health leave and for other violations. Bass Pro Outdoor World is facing a lawsuit based on claims by the EEOC that it denied employment based on race and national origin. The agency has filed a suit against the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain for not hiring workers who were age 40 or more. EEOC has asked members of affected groups to contact the agency.
This article was contributed together with Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who looks forward to helping future clients get the justice they deserve. They write this on behalf of the Farley Law Firm, the number one law firm for Wrongful Termination cases in California. As a law firm that has experience in assisting Californians in Los Angeles, Irvine, Pasadena, Burbank, and surrounding areas with legal matters in a variety of practice areas, you’re sure to get the best service possible working with them. Check out their website today to see what they can do for you!