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Employment Laws

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Workers are protected from workplace discrimination and sexual harassment by multiple federal and state laws. Note that the definition of employee or worker as well as the definition of covered employer varies. Major employment laws include:

  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability by public entities, regardless of whether they receive federal financial assistance.
  • Section 504 and Title I of the ADA also prohibit employment discrimination. Complainants may choose whether to pursue such complaints with either the Office of Civil Rights or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. This law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about an individual's genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual's family members, as well as information about any disease, disorder, or condition of an individual's family members (i.e. an individual's family medical history).
  • Vermont's Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) makes it an "unlawful employment practice" for an employer to discriminate against any person in a "legally protected category,” including:
    • Race
    • Color
    • Place of Birth
    • National Origin
    • Ancestry
    • Religion
    • Gender Identity
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Sex
    • Age (18 or over)
    • Disability
    • HIV+ status
    • Crime Victim status (not recognized for protection under federal law)
    • Health insurance coverage status (not recognized for protection under federal law)
    • Association with a member of a legally protected category listed above