Know Your Rights as an Employee or Applicant for a Job

Creating order and balance in the workplace and, more importantly, protecting employees against any form of employment abuses and discrimination, whether by employers or co-workers, ought to be easier and more guaranteed today with the so many laws intended to uphold and protect the rights of every employee.

These various employment laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a self-regulating body that was approved on July 2, 1964, by the US Congress. The first and foremost duty of the EEOC was to see to the implementation of the Civil Rights Act that was enacted in the same year. The strict implementation of all other laws concerning employment, passed either before or after 1964, has been placed under the care of the EEOC. Some of these laws include:

  • The Equal Pay Act (EPA), which was enacted in 1963. EPA requires payment of equal wage to employees performing the same work in the same workplace. Same work points to the same skills, efforts and responsibilities required in the job.
  • The Civil Rights Act. This law, which was approved in 1964, strictly prohibits any form of workplace discrimination, regardless of basis (race, origin, gender, sexual orientation, genetic information, etc.). The Civil Rights Act also illegalizes any form of retaliatory act by the employer on employees who file employment discrimination complaints or who provide evidences on discriminatory practices during investigations and/or lawsuits.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 was passed into law to forbid discrimination against individuals aged 40 years or older. ADEA also prohibits any form of discrimination in hiring, layoff or termination of employment, wages and promotion due to the specified age, as well as statement of age limit and preference in job advertisement and notices.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was approved in 1990. This law was intended to provide protection to people from being discriminated due to their disability, despite their capability to perform the required work as good as anyone else.
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which was approved on November 21, 2009. This law was intended to protect individuals from discrimination due to issues of genetic information. It also strictly prohibited spread of information about a person’s family’s genetic tests, medical condition or issues of medical disorder.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was meant to protect women who were pregnant or likely to become pregnant soon. The law prohibited firing, not hiring, etc., of affected women.

Despite all these anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, Melton & Kumler, LLP, in its website, admits the fact that so many employers still continue to take advantage and mistreat employees in a great number of ways, such as refusal to give just wages or pay overtime work, creation of a hostile working environment to force an employee to resign and other various forms of discrimination.

Employees who feel that they are being discriminated by their employers and/or co-workers have the right to file a complaint against their perpetrators. Filing a complaint, though, is subjected to a statute of limitation. The case will also have to be forwarded to EEOC first. Thus, hiring a good lawyer who is determined to fight for your rights and who will assist you in filing the right complaint and within the specified time limit would be a really good decision.

Discrimination should not be tolerated. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, make sure to contact a sexual harassment lawyer today.

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