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What anti-discrimination laws cover the workplace?

If you are like most people, work is a necessary evil. You need to work in order to live. You probably hoped you would find a job you could enjoy with good people to work with. It may have started out that way, but then things changed, and not for the better.

Someone you work with, a coworker, supervisor or manager began exhibited behaviors toward you that you believe to be discriminatory. You may have taken your concerns to someone within the company as indicated in your employee handbook, but nothing was done. Now, you feel as though you need to look outside the company for help.

A quick overview of anti-discrimination laws

You have the right to fight back against discrimination, and at least one of the following anti-discrimination laws may apply to your situation:

  • The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin or some other protected class.
  • You may fall under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits workplace discrimination against you if you are age 40 or older.
  • If you are pregnant, you fall under an amendment to Title VII called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires employers to pay men and women equally for the same work.
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit the federal government from discriminating against you if you have a disability and work for the federal government.
  • Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects you from discrimination due to a disability if you work for a private company with at least 15 workers, the State of California or a local government.
  • Under Title II of The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, your employer cannot discriminate against you because you or your family carry certain genetic traits.

Even if you only fall under one of the above anti-discrimination laws, you may still have the opportunity to move forward with a discrimination claim. However, even when federal laws, and perhaps state laws, are on your side, it does not guarantee you the outcome you expect.

These claims can be complex, and you would probably benefit from sitting down with an employment law attorney to gain an understanding of your rights under the law and an explanation of your legal options so that you can make an informed decision about your next move.

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