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What federal employee laws bar discrimination?

Readers of this blog in Texas, Atlanta, Washington or anywhere else in the country will appreciate that operating in the realm of the federal work force takes a special kind of person. It also takes a unique level of patience and awareness about bureaucracy, administrivia and, most importantly, the law.

Everyone is surely aware of the array of employment laws that have been enacted for the protection of private sector employees. The list grows even longer, however, in the federal workforce environment. There is good reason for that. Favoritism and self-protectionism have long been staples of the hiring and advancement processes in government employment. That hasn't worked out too well for achieving effective government service and Congress has responded at various times with laws to protect government employees.

Below is a rundown of federal-level laws that are in force to protect workers against discrimination across the spectrum. Keep in mind as you read the list that additional laws and ordinances at state, county and even city levels may apply, which only reinforces that when you have employment issues, consulting a skilled attorney is the way to be confident your full rights are protected.

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act: This measure is meant to make sure a worker in good standing isn't replaced just because he or she happens to be over 40.
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963: Equal pay for equal work is the concept behind this law. It's not always achieved.
  • Civil Rights act of 1964: This law prohibits bias on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or nationality.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991: Amended the previous law to provide for greater remedies, including the payment of damages for intentional discrimination, or actions that disproportionately hurt a particular group.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act: This law seeks to ensure equal access to common facets of everyday life to those with disabilities.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act: Being pregnant or even intending to become pregnant has led to discrimination against women. This law bans that practice in the context of hiring, firing and promotion.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act: A lot of organizations talk about finding a proper work-life balance. This law strives to tip the scale just a little bit in favor of employees when life should be the priority.

Source: FindLaw, "Federal Employment Discrimination Law," accessed May 17, 2016

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