Many laws in the United States protect workers from discrimination in the workplace based on factors such as gender, race and age. When a company discriminates against an employee based on something other than skill and ability to do the job, it decreases employee morale and motivation. Several government offices work to enforce anti-discrimination laws.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today the EEOC also enforces other laws, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These and other laws protect workers against discrimination in the workplace because of race, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability and religion. Companies may not discriminate at any stage of the job process including hiring, firing or promotions. Workers who feel they have been discriminated against may file a complaint with the EEOC with any evidence and documentation they have. The EEOC will investigate the claim and attempt to reach a settlement with the company. Some examples of remedies include back pay, lump sum payments, reinstatement and reasonable accommodation.
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, as part of the Department of Labor, protects employees of companies that work for the federal government or work on federally funded projects. These companies may not discriminate against employees based on race, gender, religion, national origin or status as a veteran. Workers who have been discriminated against may file a complaint with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and may be entitled to back pay, a raise, promotion, reinstatement or reassignment.
Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices enforces the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin or citizenship status. Immigrants who feel they have been discriminated against according to this Act and who are legally permitted to work in the United States may file a complaint with this office. The office investigates the claims and holds hearings before an Administrative Law Judge. If discrimination occurred, the worker may be entitled to back pay and hiring orders.
Office of Employment Discrimination and Complaint Adjudication
Employees and applicants of the Department of Veterans Affairs who feel they have been discriminated against may file a written complaint with the Office of Employment Discrimination and Complaint Adjudication. The office reviews written material and makes a decision based on this information alone. If the complainant is not happy with the decision, he may file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC or pursue civil charges through the United States District Court.
Many states have their own anti-discrimination laws, so workers can also seek relief from discrimination in the workplace through the state Department of Labor. State laws prohibit discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, religion, pregnancy and national origin. Specific laws, filing procedures and investigation processes vary by state.
- Cornell University: Discrimination in the Workplace
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions And Answers
- U.S. Department of Labor: Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Overview
- U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Office of Employment Discrimination and Complaint Adjudication
- State of Delaware: Office of Discrimination
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