Federal and State Laws

Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Laws and Relevant Websites

Click a link below to learn more about relevant Federal and State Laws 

Federal Law

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

This law makes it illegal to pay different wages to men and women if they perform equal work in the same workplace. 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. Read more about the The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

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

This law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. 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. 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. Read more about the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

This Act 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. 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. Read more about The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Civil Rights Act of 1991: Sections 102 and 103

Among other things, this law amends Title VII and the ADA to permit jury trials and compensatory and punitive damage awards in intentional discrimination cases. Read more about Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991

Executive Order 11246

The Executive Order 11246 (E.O 11246) prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also requires covered contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment. Read more about Executive Order #11246.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

This law protects people who are 40 or older from discrimination because of age. 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. Read more about The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

This act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The standards for determining employment discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act are the same as those used in title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Sections 501 and 505

These sections make it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the federal government. They also make 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. The act 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. Read more about Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Sections 503

This section prohibits discrimination and requires employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that exceed $10,000 to take affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities. All covered contractors and subcontractors must also include a specific equal opportunity clause in each of their nonexempt contracts and subcontracts. Read more about Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Sections 504

This section prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. This section applies to, among other entities, public elementary and secondary schools. Children with disabilities may be eligible for special education and related services as amended. Section 504's definition of disability is broader than the IDEA's definition. Read more about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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

This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the private sector and in state and local governments. 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. 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. Read more about Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA)

This act emphasized that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of a broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA. Read more about the ADAAA.

Title IX, Education Amendment of 1972 (Title IX)

This law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sex. Discrimination based on sex includes, the exclusion of participation and access, denial of benefits or subjection to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Read more about Title IX, Education Amendment of 1972 (Title IX)

The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA)

VEVRAA requires federal government contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment, specified categories of veterans protected by the Act and prohibits discrimination against such veterans. In addition, VEVRAA requires contractors and subcontractors to list their employment openings with the appropriate employment service delivery system, and that covered veterans receive priority in referral to such openings. Read more about VEVRAA.

Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA)

The JVA was amended in 2002 to revise and improve employment, training, and placement services furnished to veterans, and for other purposes. Read more about the Jobs for Veterans Act.

The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

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). 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. Read more about The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

The act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new discriminatory paycheck. The Act was based on a S.C. decision holding that the statute of limitations for presenting an equal-pay lawsuit begins at the date the pay was agreed upon, not at the date of the most recent paycheck, as a lower court had ruled.


New York State Law

Executive Order #19 – Policy on Sexual Harassment

This order requires agencies to issue a strong management policy statement defining and prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. The policy statement should inform employees of their rights of redress, and the availability of complaint resolution channels and assistance with incidents or sexual harassment. Read more about Executive Order #19.

Executive Order #15 – Human Rights Law

This order requires employers to take responsibility to act to assure that every individual within is afforded an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life and that the failure to provide such equal opportunity, whether because of discrimination, prejudice, intolerance or inadequate education, training, housing or health care not only threatens the rights and proper privileges of its inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state. Read more about Executive Order #15.

Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act of 2003 (SONDA)

This Act amends the Executive Law to include sexual orientation as a protected class in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodation, education and credit. Read more about SONDA.

Other Executive Orders and Local Ordinances


Resources

Federal Government Sites

New York State Government Sites