The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is a federal administrative agency that handles employment discrimination and harassment charges. In general, federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination are enforced by the EEOC. These federal laws are passed by Congress and subsequently signed by the President.
The following is a list of federal laws that the EEOC enforces:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”)
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”)
- The Equal Pay Act (“EPA”)
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”)
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)
- Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991
- Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”)
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII makes it illegal to discrimination against an individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. In addition, Title VII requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for sincerely held religious practices. Under Title VII, an employer is prohibited from retaliating against an applicant or employee based on a complaint or charge of employment discrimination. The PDA amended Title VII to prohibit discrimination against women on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or a pregnancy-related medical condition. According to the EPA, men and women performing equal work in the same workplace must be paid the same wages. Employees or applicants who are 40 or older are protected from age-based discrimination under the ADEA.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against a qualified applicant or employee due to that individual’s disability. Further, the ADA requires employers to reasonably accommodate disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the employer’s business. In general, Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act allow compensatory and punitive damage awards in intentional discrimination cases. Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act make it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the federal government. Lastly, GINA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of genetic information. Genetic information includes information regarding an individual’s personal or family medical history related to diseases or conditions.
In addition to the above federal laws, the EEOC also enforces regulations. The EEOC’s regulations are voted on, and then published regularly in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”).
While the EEOC enforces a variety of federal laws prohibiting discrimination, the following laws are not currently enforced by the EEOC:
- The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978
- The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
- Executive Order 11246
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“OSHA”)
- Sections 503, 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
- The Social Security Act
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)
- The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”)
- Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866
- Workers Compensation Law
- Title I of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act