Workplace Discrimination And The Law
Workplace Discrimination And The Law
Melissa Omansky (Employment Attorney, Los Angeles, California) gives expert video advice on: Can an employer legally refuse to hire an applicant based on the person's sexual orientation?; Can a business require employees to speak only English when customers are present?; Are employers obligated to let religious employees take their Sabbath day off? and more...
What is 'Title VII of the Civil Rights Act'?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a federal statute that regulates discrimination based on a number of protected categories including race, national origin, sex and gender.
What is the 'Equal Pay Act'?
The Equal Pay Act is a federal regulation that requires employers to pay their employees who are similarly situated, meaning that they have the same level of seniority, the same job responsibilities, and the same job position. It requires them to pay them the same rate of pay irrespective to their gender.
Are female employees entitled to be paid as much as male employees, even if their jobs are different?
Female employees are definitely entitled to the same pay as a male employee, but only for a like position. The answer to that question is no, because if the job positions are different, then the pay can be different. However, the determination should not be made on gender - it should be made on seniority and job position.
What is the 'Age Discrimination in Employment Act'?
The Age Discrimination Employment Act, otherwise known as ADEA, is a federal law that prohibits discrimination of employees based on their age, and it only covers employees who are 40 years of age or older.
What is the 'Americans with Disabilities Act'?
It applies to employers who have at least fifteen employees. It requires that reasonable accommodations be made for persons with disabilities if they are qualified for the position.
What is the 'Pregnancy Discrimination Act'?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, and essentially what it means is that if you have an employee who meets any of those criteria. You cannot terminate them based on their pregnancy, and you cannot take some sort of adverse employment action against them because of that condition.
What employment issues are addressed in federal discrimination law?
Federal laws prohibiting discrimination applies to wages, benefits, hiring discrimination, and nearly everything in between.
Can an employer legally refuse to hire an applicant based on the person's sexual orientation?
Federal law does not have a specific prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, many states do, including California. It is certainly good practice not to discriminate against somebody, irrespective of your state, based on their sexual orientation.
What is an 'affirmative action plan'?
An affirmative action plan is a set of standards for remedying the effects of past discrimination. It is something that has a very limited application, and private employers often are not able to enact such plans.
Can a business require employees to speak only English when customers are present?
Businesses can require employees to speak only English when customers are present in some circumstances. It depends on what the business necessity is for the English-only policy.
Are employers obligated to let religious employees take their Sabbath day off?
Employers are required to provide religious accommodations to religious employees if it does not pose an undue hardship on the employer. In some circumstances, an employer is going to need to provide an accommodation to an employee to allow them to take their Sabbath off. However, that is not true in every circumstance.
What is genetic discrimination?
Genetic discrimination occurs when an employer makes a decision about either a job applicant or an employee based on their genetic information. For example, whether or not a person carries an inheritable disease would be something that would be covered by genetic discrimination. Federal law does not specifically prohibit it, however, there are certain circumstances where it could be covered by disability discrimination laws. Certain states do have a prohibition against genetic discrimination and therefore, you do want to check with your local council and/or your administrative agency to determine what the laws of your state are.
Are 'civil rights laws' only for minorities?
Civil rights laws are not only for minorities. They definitely do afford the same protections to persons of other races and other national origins.
Can an employer discriminate against employees or candidates based on sex, gender, religion or age?
There are certain circumstances - limited circumstances - under which an employer can treat two individuals, or distinguish between individual employees, based on their age, their sex, and their gender. An example of where that is sometimes permissible, is in the entertainment industry, or if there is a bona fide job qualification that would require a person to be of a certain gender, or a certain age.
What should I do if I feel I've been discriminated against based on my race, religion, gender or age?
If you feel you've been discriminated against based on your age, your race or another protected characteristic, what you first want to do is use your employers internal remedies, and see if your employer has method grievences. If you feel it is necessary, then you can also file a complaint with an outside governmental agency, such as the Equal Employer Opportunity Commission, which is the federal government agency that deals with discrimination. Or, you can file a civil suit.
As an employee, what should I do if I suspect age discrimination?
The first thing you should do as an employee, if you suspect age discrimination, is go to the appropriate person within your company and advise them of what it is that you suspect. You want to first take a look at your employer's internal complaint and grievance procedure.
Are there state laws regarding discrimination?
There are state laws regarding discrimination, but the state laws vary from state to state. You do certainly need to check with your local council regarding the laws of your particular state.