Federal laws make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. The firm has pursued a number of claims like this, including one I posted about earlier, which you can read about by clicking here.
This includes both intentional discrimination, and some forms of
accidental discrimination through making rules that end up disadvantaging a particular type of person. For example, a rule requiring manual laborers to speak English may be unlawful because it has an adverse impact on national origin and is not required for the work. The same is true, in most workplaces, for a rule against hiring anyone with an arrest or conviction record - unless the particular criminal conviction is of importance for the particular job. I expect many, many employers maintain illegal rules about background checks. I will post more about this later.
It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. This protects complainants and witnesses in these kinds of cases.
Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by these laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases).
In addition, Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race by any employer, even those with fewer than 15 employees. There is also a separate law covering unequal pay between men and women.
The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.
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