Several federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants or employees because of:
- Race or color
- National origin and citizenship
- Genetic information
Federal laws prohibit discrimination against individuals because of these characteristics. Employers are also prohibited from enacting policies or procedures that have a disproportionate negative impact on people who fall into these protected categories. For example, it may be illegal discrimination to pay a Mexican employee less than an equally qualified employee with the same length of service who is American-born. It may also be illegal discrimination to exclude all job applicants with arrest records if the policy excludes a disproportionate number of African Americans who are otherwise qualified for the job.
Discrimination is illegal in all phases of the employment relationship: hiring, firing, job assignments, pay, promotions, training, layoff, benefits, and all other terms and conditions of employment. It is also illegal for a company to retaliate against any employee who has complained of discrimination or who has provided evidence on behalf of an employee in a discrimination case.
In addition to avoiding sanctionable discriminatory practices, companies may be required to take affirmative actions on behalf of members of some protected groups. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to job applicants and employees with disabilities, if the accommodation will allow the person to perform the job and is not too much of a burden on the company. Employers must also accommodate the religious practices of employees, within reason. For example, employers may be required to allow flexible scheduling or shift swapping so that employees have the flexibility to engage in religious practices and/or observe religious holidays.
The attorneys at Schneiders & Associates, L.L.P. work with employers and human resource professionals to help minimize the risks of an employment law related claim. Contact our office today to speak to an employment law attorney.