Employment Discrimination Law – Frequently Asked Questions

Both federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the part of employers.  Should you, your employees, managers or other agents of your company discriminate against an employee or in some cases, a prospective employee, you risk legal liability.  Following are frequently asked questions regarding discrimination law:
What is age discrimination?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects individuals aged 40 or older from employment discrimination based on age.  It is illegal for employers to discriminate against a person in hiring, firing, promotions, job assignments and training because of their age. For example, you may not refuse to hire an otherwise qualified employee because they are too old.
Are there any laws that prohibit employers from discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation?
No.  However, on November 7, 2013 the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (S. 815), which would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  The proposed law has yet to pass through the House of Representatives, so to date there is no law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, but employers should anticipate the eventual passage of such a law and amend their employee policies accordingly.
What law covers religious discrimination?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against someone because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment.  Employers are also required to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee, which might include: flexible scheduling to observe religious holidays, voluntary substitutions or swaps, and job reassignments or transfers
Are there non-discrimination laws that protect pregnant employees?
Yes, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Under this law, an employer may not discriminate against an employee based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.  This law also covers the temporary inability of the pregnant employee to perform her job due to pregnancy – she must be treated the same way as any other temporarily disabled employee.  An employer also may not prohibit an employee from returning to work for a predetermined length of time after giving birth.  For example, an employer may not require an employee to return to work six weeks after childbirth.

For employment discrimination matters talk to a NY employment defense law attorney
As society and cultural norms change and expand so do discrimination laws and regulations.  For advice on how to handle a discrimination matter in your company, contact us online or call 718-275-6700 to schedule a consultation today.

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