Discrimination

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  1. Employment Discrimination
  2. Discrimination by Type
  3. Other Requirements
  4. Recordkeeping Requirements
  5. When a Charge Has Been Filed
  6. Small Businesses
  7. Read more about …

Employment Discrimination

Federal Laws prohibit workplace discrimination and are enforced by EEOC.  These are passed by Congress and signed by the President.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. These laws protect employees and job applicants against employment discrimination when it involves:

  • Unfair treatment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
  • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace, because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
  • Denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation that the employee needs because of religious beliefs or disability.
  • Retaliation because the employee complained about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Not all employers are covered by these laws, and not all employees are protected. This can vary depending on the type of employer, the number of employees it has, and the type of discrimination alleged.

An employee or job applicant who believes that he or she has been discriminated against at work can file a “Charge of Discrimination.” All of the laws enforced by EEOC, except for the Equal Pay Act, require employees and applicants to file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC before they can file a job discrimination lawsuit against their employer. Also, there are strict time limits for filing a charge.

The fact that the EEOC has taken a charge does not mean that the government is accusing anyone of discrimination. The charging party has alleged that an employer has discriminated against him or her and it is the EEOC’s job to investigate the matter to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred.

Discrimination by Type

Laws, regulations and policy guidance, and also fact sheets, Q&As, best practices, and other information organized by basis of discrimination.

Other Requirements

The laws enforced by EEOC require employers to keep certain records, regardless of whether a charge has been filed against them. When a charge has been filed, employers have additional recordkeeping obligations. The EEOC also collects workforce data from some employers, regardless of whether a charge has been filed against the company.

Employers are required to post notices describing the Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

Recordkeeping Requirements

EEOC Regulations require that employers keep all personnel or employment records for one year. If an employee is involuntarily terminated, his/her personnel records must be retained for one year from the date of termination.

Under ADEA recordkeeping requirements, employers must also keep all payroll records for three years. Additionally, employers must keep on file any employee benefit plan (such as pension and insurance plans) and any written seniority or merit system for the full period the plan or system is in effect and for at least one year after its termination.

Under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) recordkeeping requirements applicable to the EPA, employers must keep payroll records for at least three years. In addition, employers must keep for at least two years all records (including wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements) that explain the basis for paying different wages to employees of opposite sexes in the same establishment.

These requirements apply to all employers covered by Federal anti-discrimination laws, regardless of whether a charge has been filed against the employer.

When a Charge Has Been Filed

The EEOC Notice of Charge form that you receive should explain the agency’s record keeping requirements. When an EEOC charge has been filed against your company, you should retain personnel or employment records relating to the issues under investigation as a result of the charge, including those related to the charging party or other persons alleged to be aggrieved and to all other employees holding or seeking positions similar to that held or sought by the affected individual(s).

Once a charge is filed, these records must be kept until the final disposition of the charge or any lawsuit based on the charge. When a charge is not resolved after investigation, and the charging party has received a notice of right to sue, “final disposition” means the date of expiration of the 90-day statutory period within which the aggrieved person may bring suit or, where suit is brought by the charging party or the EEOC, the date on which the litigation is terminated, including any appeals.

Summary of Selected Recordkeeping Obligations in 29 CFR Part 1602

Small Businesses

While the information in this section of our website applies to all employers, it has been specifically designed for small businesses which may not have a human resources department or a specialized EEO staff. We realize that the information provided here may not answer all of the sophisticated legal issues that can arise in employment discrimination cases. Employers who have questions about the laws enforced by EEOC or about compliance with those laws in specific workplace situations may contact the EEOC small business liaisons for assistance.

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