Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

Federal Anit-Discrimination laws protect most employees from being discriminated against in all employment-related matters based on various protected characteristics, such as:

  • Age

  • Race

  • Sex

  • Religion

  • National origin and more

Major Federal Laws that Prohibit Discrimination:

1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Prohibits harassment of people on the basis of a protected characteristic.

2. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

Prohibits employers with at least 20 employees from discriminating against employees who are at least 40 years old due to their age.

3. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Prohibits employers from discriminating against people solely due to their disabilities in any employment-related aspect.

4. Equal Pay Act

Requires employers to provide equal pay to men and women equal for equal work.

5. Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship, and knowingly employing individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States.

6. Civil Rights Act of 1866 (Section 1981)

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race.

7. Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA)

Requires employers with 20 or more employees to offer employees the right to a continuation of their group health insurance after their employment ends.

8. Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Contains detailed requirements for certain employers who offer their employees a retirement plan or welfare benefit plan, such as health insurance.

9. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide their employees with family leave.

10. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) addresses minimum-wage requirements, overtime pay and child labor.

11. Age Discrimination Act of 1975

Prohibits all federally funded programs and activities from discriminating against individuals due to their age.

12. Title II/III of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title II prohibits discrimination in theaters, restaurants, motels, hotels, motels and any other type of public accommodation that engages interstate commerce. An exemption is made for "private" clubs.

Title III prohibits municipal or state governments from denying anyone access to public facilities on the basis of color, race, national origin or religion.

13. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin, color or race, color in activities or programs which receive federal funding. It is usually applied to publicly funded schools, but can also be applied to law enforcement.

14. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)

15. Fair Housing Act of 1968 (Amended in 1974)

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the following areas:

  • Advertising or statements that indicate preferences or limitations based on protected characteristics

  • Making housing unavailable

  • Refusal to negotiate for, sell, or rent housing

  • Providing different housing facilities or services

  • Setting different privileges, conditions or terms, for the rental or sale of a dwelling

  • Falsely denying the availability of housing for rental, sale or inspection

  • Denying anyone membership or access to a service or facility related to the rental or sale of housing

  • Blockbusting

  • Refusing to offer a mortgage loan

  • Imposing different conditions and/or terms for loans, including fees, points or interest rates

  • Refusing to provide information about loan products

  • Refusing to purchase a loan

  • Discriminating in the appraisal of property

16. The Federal Trade Commission Act/Robinson-Patman Act

Price related discrimination against consumers could be grounds for FTC enforcement if:

  • Consumers are injured by the practice

  • Public policy is violated

  • It is unscrupulous or unethical

17. Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA)

The HMDA is meant to prevent lending discrimination by requiring certain information regarding mortgage loan applications to be publicly disclosed.

Lending institutions are required by Regulation C to report public loan data, in part to identify possible discriminatory patterns in lending.

18. The Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was created to prevent and remedy racial discrimination in the voting process.

Section 2 prohibits voting practices that have the result or purpose of discriminating against members of a racial or minority language group.

If you need help with federal anti-discrimination laws, you can post your legal needs on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.