For many Texas workers, the primary workplace has transitioned from the office in the company building downtown to the extra bedroom upstairs. Workplace discrimination, however, remains protected by federal legislation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 serves as the primary law that prohibits an employer from discriminating based upon color, race, age, religion, sex (including harassment), disability, pregnancy or relationship to another, among others. The scope of the law includes all facets of employment: hiring, termination, referral and retaliation by employers against those who act to protect their rights.
Which law protects whom?
While numerous federal agencies enforce the provisions of these laws, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) acts as the primary one. Other acts address discrimination against other protected classes. Some of these include:
- Equal Pay Act: Requires employers to provide equal pay regardless of sex for equal work, as determined by the content of the job
- The Age Discrimination Act: Protects individuals over 40 from discrimination in all aspects of employment
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act: Prevents employers from making employment decisions regarding hiring, terminating, or employing based upon pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical-related conditions
- The Americans with Disabilities Act: Prohibited discrimination against those with a disability without offering a “reasonable accommodation” to otherwise qualified candidates. In addition to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, numerous federal agencies enforce the broad scope of these laws.
What type of discrimination charges have increased the most?
The aggregate number of charges brought before the EEOC has declined since 2016. Despite the trend, certain types of charges increased between 2020 and 2021. Those with a basis on race, national origin, color, retaliation, age and disability went against the trend. Retaliation charges have increased every year since 2006. For the past two years, they account for more than half of all charges when considering those brought under all applicable laws.
Discrimination at work may assume different forms as the work environment changes. The requirements to prove those, however, remain consistent. Attorneys who understand how the law applies to the new workplace can help.