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Which Equal Employment Opportunity Laws Apply to Your Business?

By Kristine Sova
www.sovalaw.com

Not all employers are covered by all of the various labor and employment laws that exist. It is important to know which laws apply to which company or organization, because coverage imposes important obligations on employers.

Here are the most common federal, New York state, and NYC equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws, along with a brief description of the law and the thresholds for coverage:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

This federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants' and employees' sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

Covered employers: Generally, employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce that have 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

This federal law amended Title VII to make it illegal to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Covered employers: Generally, employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce that have 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

This federal law makes it illegal to pay different wages to men and women if they perform equal work in the same workplace.

Covered employers: There are two coverage tests, but generally, employers with two or more employees that have an annual dollar volume of sales or business done of at least $500,000.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

This federal law protects people who are 40 or older from discrimination because of age.

Covered employers: Generally, employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce that have 20 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

This federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

Covered employers: Generally, employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce that have 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

This federal 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).

Covered employers: Generally, employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce that have 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

New York State Human Rights Law

This state law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, or domestic violence victim status. The law requires reasonable accommodation of religious practices and disabilities, provided that they do not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

Covered employers: Generally, employers with 4 or more employees.

New York City Human Rights Law

This city law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of age, race, religion, creed, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, disability, marital status, partnership status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, alienage or citizenship status, arrest or conviction record, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking, unemployment status, and, beginning September 3, 2015, credit history. The law requires reasonable accommodation of religious practices and disabilities, provided that they do not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

Covered employers: Generally, employers with four or more employees.

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Each of the above laws 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.

Keep in mind that the list above does not include all labor and employment laws, such as wage-and-hour laws, leave laws, safety laws, and the like. Also keep in mind that there are a number of other factors that may impact whether or not a law will apply to a particular employer or not, such as whether or not to include a principal as an employee, as well as single employer and joint employer doctrines, which permit courts and administrative agencies to treat nominally separate, but highly integrated companies as a single employer for coverage purposes.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 6, 2015 1:56 PM.

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