Office for Institutional Equity & Access

Plain Language Guide

Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C.A Section 1981

Grants equal rights to make contract. Violation could be used to redress employment discrimination based on race, alienage, and national origin.

Equal Pay Act of 1963

Prohibits unequal wages for women and men who are employed at the same establishment and who perform equal jobs requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.

Wage differentials resulting from seniority, merit or wage systems that base earnings on quality, quantity or production and not the sex of the employees do not violate the Equal Pay Act.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991

"It shall be unlawful employment practice for any employer... to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin"

-Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964

Prohibit discrimination on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Sex
  • Religion

Prohibit discrimination in all phases of employment including:

  • Recruitment
  • Hiring and firing
  • Compensation, assignment, or classification of employees
  • Transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall
  • Job advertisements
  • Testing
  • Use of company facilities
  • Training and apprenticeship programs
  • Fringe benefits
  • Pay, retirement plans, and disability leave
  • Terms, Conditions of Employment

If you believe you have a claim under Title VII, see the options available to you.

Executive Order 11246 (1965) as amended by 11375

Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in all aspects of employment and applies to all federal government contractors and subcontractors for more than $10,000. Requires recipients of federal contracts and grants to develop an affirmative action program and take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain qualified women and minorities.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

Prohibits discrimination against individuals who are over 40 years old in all phases of the employment process. If age is a bona fide job qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business, then the ADEA is not violated. [Bona fide = made in good faith without deceit.]

Title IX and Title VI of the Education Amendments of 1972, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000

These amendments state that no person shall on the basis of sex, race, or national origin, be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. These amendments were established for educational institutions and agencies receiving federal funds and include criteria for eliminating discrimination from educational services and programs as well as from employment policies and practices. Title IX extends the coverage to include executive, administrative, and professional employees, including faculty.

Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Sections 503 and 504

Requires employers receiving federal funds to take affirmative action to employ and promote qualified persons with disabilities. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability. The act applies to every phase of the employment process.

Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974

Requires employers who are government contractors to take affirmative action to hire and promote qualified disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era.

Pregnancy discrimination Act of 1978

Requires employers to treat women affected by pregnancy and related conditions the same as other applicants and employees on the basis of their ability or inability to fulfill the responsibilities of a position. Prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or other related conditions.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

This act makes it illegal for employers to knowingly hire aliens. Employers must verify that every employee hired can legally work in the United States. Employers must also comply with record keeping requirements that document employment status.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in regard to job applications procedures, hiring, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. It is applicable to public and private sector employees.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991

Intentional discrimination (sex, race, national origin, religion, disability) is unlawful, allows compensatory and/or punitive damages, and allows a jury trial if damages are sought.

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