Employers are prevented from discriminating based on religion, sex, race, national origin, age, and physical disability by employment discrimination laws. In some instances, they are also prevented from discriminating based on sexual orientation. The discrimination commonly arises as bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, compensation, retaliation, and various types of harassment. Except for constitutional laws that apply to governmental employers engaging in discriminatory practices, anti-discrimination laws consist of federal and state statutes.
Employment discrimination claims commonly arise under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to most employers engaged in interstate commerce with more than 15 employees. The statute makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex, which includes pregnancy, and childbirth. Title VII also prohibits employment agencies from discriminating when hiring or referring applicants and labor organizations from discriminating in membership or union classifications. Other federal anti-discrimination statutes include the Nineteenth Century Civil Rights Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Equal Pay Act, American with Disabilities Act, and Rehabilitation Act. Established by Title VII, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) interprets and enforces many of these federal statutes.
State statutes also prohibit employment discrimination, with some laws expanding protection to groups and activities not covered by the federal acts. In Missouri, for example, the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), R.S.Mo., §213.010, et seq., which is enforced by the Missouri Human Rights Commission (MHRC), extends its protection to prevent discrimination in housing based on familial status. If you or a loved experienced discrimination, contact an attorney immediately. Employment discrimination claims implicate special procedures such as procuring a right to sue letter at the state and/or federal level.