There are multiple federal laws that protect employees from job discrimination.  According to the EEOC, these laws include:

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  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
  • the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination;
  • the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older;
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government;
  • Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information about an applicant, employee, or former employee; and
  • the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination If at any time you feel that your employment rights have been violated you can file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.  You also can file a charge for another person if you suspect that the other person has been a victim of discrimination.

To file a charge of discrimination, you can visit the EEOC office in person or submit it in the mail.  Visit their website to find office locations.  Make sure to include your name, address, and telephone number, along with the name, address, and telephone number of the employer or entity that has allegedly discriminated and a description of how you were discriminated against.  Also include the dates and frequency of the violations as well as how many employees were present.  

You must file your charge within 180 days of the alleged violation; this deadline is extended to 300 days if the charge is also under state or local anti-discrimination law.  Agencies that handle these types of charges are called Fair Employment Practice Agencies.  

You should be prepared to provide information, interviews, and other documents that the EEOC demands.  The charge can be settled at any time if the employer wishes to do so.  The charge can also be dismissed by the EEOC at any time.  

If there is enough evidence that discrimination has occurred, the EEOC will inform the charging party with a letter and attempt to reach reconciliation with the offending party.  There are actions available if discrimination has been proven.  The charging party can choose to receive back or front pay, be hired, reinstated, or promoted, or any other form of reasonable accommodation.  The discriminating party may also be responsible for any attorney, court, or witness fees.  The discriminatory party may also be asked to compensate for monetary losses (both actual and future) and for any mental anguish or inconvenience that may have occurred.

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Get started Ask an Employment Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.