Did You Know? Laws Against Discrimination and Protected Classes
All employees are entitled, as part of their civil rights pursuant to the Constitution of the the United States and most state constitutions, to employment free from unlawful discrimination. At the federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) regulates, promulgates and enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee based upon a variety of factors.
Federal law, pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 “(ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) and related laws, prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information, as well as reprisal for protected activity. These categories are known as “protected classes.” Included in these broad classes are sexual preference and pregnancy.
Separately, most if not all states, have their own laws concerning workplace discrimination. In some cases, the state laws may supersede federal law, especially in situations where the state law is broader than federal laws. For example, New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) adds additional protected classes to its statue making it stricter than federal laws. Contractors need to be aware of both federal and state employment laws in order to make certain that they are complying with the law.
If you would like more information about your rights or obligations as an employer or employee please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at (973) 949-3770.