Federal fair employment laws prohibit employment practices that discriminate based on age, race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, and genetic information. The laws also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who file discrimination complaints. In many states, sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital and familial status are also protected characteristics. Many states have separate laws that protect those who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime, individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related diseases, individuals who use tobacco or other lawful products while off duty, and individuals who are actively involved in politics or local unions.
The following chart lists the major federal civil rights statutes. For further details on issues specific to any of these statutes, see the subject pages referenced in the chart. Following the chart, you will find information on a number of issues relevant to most discrimination claims.
|Statute ||Coverage ||Basic Requirements ||For Detailed Discussion, See: |
|Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (9 USC 621 et seq.) ||Employers with 20 or more employees ||Prohibits discrimination in employment against individuals aged 40 and over |
|Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 USC 1201 et seq.) ||Employers with 15 or more employees ||Prohibits discrimination against applicants and employees because of an actual or perceived disability, a record of a disability, or a relationship or association with an individual with a disability |
|Civil Rights Act of 1866 (Section 1981) (42 USC 1981 et seq.) ||All public and private employers, regardless of size ||Prohibits discrimination based on race ||See Race Discrimination section below. |
|Civil Rights Act, Title VII ( |