Federal Employment Laws

Fair Employment Practices/Discrimination

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
Protects applicants and employees 40 years of age or older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended
Protects qualified applicants and employees with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of employment (e.g., hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, job training, fringe benefits, etc.) on the basis of disability; also requires that qualified applicants and employees be provided with reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship. 

Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
Prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 

Civil Rights Act of 1991
Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to strengthen and improve federal civil rights laws, to provide for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination, to clarify provisions regarding disparate impact actions, and for other purposes. 

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The FCRA is designed primarily to protect the privacy of consumer report information and to ensure that the information supplied by consumer reporting agencies is as accurate as possible. Sections 604, 606, and 615 of the FCRA spell out an employer’s responsibilities when using consumer reports for employment purposes. 

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
Prohibits discrimination against employees or applicants because of genetic information. 

Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
Prohibits discrimination against job applicants and establishes penalties for hiring illegal aliens; requires a new employee and the employer to complete a form I-9, which verifies the employee’s identity and right to work. 

Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. 

Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Act prohibits an organization that is a recipient of federal funds from discrimination in employment on the basis of disability.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
Requires employers to provide leave for military service for up to five years whether the military service is voluntary or involuntary; the employer must usually reinstate the employee to the position or to an equivalent position, they would have had if the employment had not been interrupted by military service. 

 

Wage and Salary Administration

Equal Pay Act
Prohibits compensation discrimination based on an employee’s sex; employers may not pay wages to employees at a lesser rate than it pays to employees of the opposite sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, responsibility, performance and under similar conditions. 

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Establishes the federal minimum wage and regulates employee overtime status, child labor, overtime payment, and record keeping requirements along with other administrative issues. 

 

Employee Benefits and Workplace Safety

Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
Gives workers who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by the plan under certain circumstances; qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102% of the cost to the plan. 

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Requires covered employers to provide up to 12 workweeks of job-protected leave to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons. This includes service member family leave, which provides an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember leave entitlement of 26 workweeks during a single 12-month period to care for the servicemember. An employee is eligible if the employee has worked for the covered employer for at least one year and for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if there are at least 50 employees within 75 miles. 

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Provides rights and protections for participants and beneficiaries in group health plans. HIPAA includes protections for coverage under group health plans that limit exclusions for preexisting conditions; prohibit discrimination against employees and dependents based on their health status; and allow a special opportunity to enroll in a new plan to individuals in certain circumstances. 

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
Provides job safety and health protection for workers by promoting safe and healthful working conditions.