Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from subjecting employees to and adverse employment action on the basis of protected categories, including race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), and national origin.
Other federal laws prohibit discrimination, including:
▪ The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination;
▪ The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older;
▪ Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
▪ Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government;
▪ Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information about an applicant, employee, or former employee; and
▪ The Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.Examples of adverse employment actions include constructive discharge, termination, refusal to hire, demotion, discrimination or harassment, and exposure to a hostile work environment.
Discriminatory practices don’t just include hiring and firing. Other discriminatory practices include:
▪ Harassment. The most common type of harassment is sexual harassment, although harassment is prohibited on the basis of any protected category;
▪ Retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;
▪ Employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities, or based on myths or assumptions about an individual’s genetic information; and
▪ Denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability.
Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.
State laws such as the Illinois Human Rights Act, as well as local ordinances, provide protection in additional areas such as sexual orientation, arrests, housing status, and more.