Different Anti-Discriminatory Laws
Workplace discrimination is not something that should be taken lightly. Not only is it depriving a person of his or her basic rights it is also lowering the standards of the job market and ensuring that people who are not as qualified are doing the job of other, more competent people. Rooting out employment discrimination is not an easy task, but the federal and state governments have been passing laws that are meant to prevent it whenever possible. We have listed some of the laws that are meant to protect your rights and interests.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963
This act is supposed to make sure that men and women who are employed in the same establishment and who are performing roughly the same type of job, have similar responsibilities and job requirements, and are more or less equally qualified, are getting similar wages. Unfortunately, a number of studies performed since then have shown that, on average, women are still earning less than their male colleagues, but significant improvements have been noticed since this Act was introduced.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The main goal of Title VII is to ensure that people are not discriminated against in their workplace on the basis of their gender, religion, national origin or race. It is not only meant to fight the direct discrimination, but also to ensure that the policies which might affect one of these groups adversely don’t get adopted. Naturally, as is the case with most laws, interpreting it must be conducted on the case to case basis, as there are a number of gray areas. For instance, if a certain company is demanding that they employees must speak English, they need to provide justification for their demands, and not just arbitrarily enforce the rule without regard to whether or not speaking English would prevent every employee from doing their job. Title VII also protects employees (both male and female) from sexual harassment in the workplace and discrimination because of an employee’s pregnancy.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Act is supposed to protect the rights of senior employees. It is meant to prevent employers to force people into retirement before the age of 70, reduce their benefits, or deny the applicant an opportunity to interview for a job. Naturally, there are instances in which age can be a real obstacle for performing certain jobs, and where how old you are can be considered a ‘bona fide occupational qualification’.
Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act
These titles are meant to ensure that people with disabilities which do not preclude them from performing certain jobs are given consideration for employment and that they are treated fairly in the workplace. The employer is also required to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, including providing the proper equipment or work space, offering flexible time schedule and additional unpaid leave options, and everything else that might be required (within the limits prescribed by the titles).
Naturally, the individual states have their own discrimination laws that might be quite a bit more severe than the federal laws, which means that you should take the time to get acquainted with the laws in your particular state if you want to make sure that you are not breaking any laws as an employer, or being discriminated against as an employee.
Olivia Still is a blogger and human rights activist. She is proactive in her struggle for justice and has attracted a number of law firms as allies in the process, New Jersey Employment Law firm being one of them.