OCR Quick Facts: Federal EEO Laws
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) manages the Department of Commerce's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) programs. This fact sheet includes basic information on Federal EEO laws and the protections they provide for Commerce employees and job applicants.
A. The EEO laws that apply to federal employees and job applicants are:
A. Yes. There are also federal protections from discrimination on other bases, including sexual orientation, status as a parent, marital status, political affiliation, and conduct that does not adversely affect performance. EEO Counselors can provide information about avenues of redress for these claims, which cannot be raised in the EEO Complaint Process.
A. It is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment including:
Other prohibited practices under these laws include:
Title VII also prohibits practices that have the effect of discriminating against individuals because of their race, color, national origin, religion, or sex, even if the discriminatory effect is not intended.
A. National origin may refer to a persons's country of birth, nationality, ancestry, or cultural or ethnic origin.
Title VII also prohibits discrimination based on linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group. An employer must show a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the denial of employment opportunity because of an individual's accent or manner of speaking. Requiring employees or applicants to be fluent in English may also violate Title VII if the rule is adopted to exclude individuals of a particular national origin and is not related to job performance.
A. Religion refers to a person's religious background, religious beliefs -- or lack of them -- or membership in a religious group.
An employer is required to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs or practices of an employee or prospective employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship.
A. Yes. Title VII's prohibitions against sex discrimination cover sexual harassment. This includes practices ranging from direct requests for sexual favors to workplace conditions that create a hostile work environment for persons of either gender. Same-sex harassment is also prohibited.
A. Yes. Discrimination based on pregnancy or related medical conditions is a type of sex discrimination. Pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions must be treated in the same way as other temporary medical illnesses or condition
A. The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against qualified federal employees and job applicants with disabilities. It provides the same protections to federal employees that the Americans with Disabilities Act does for employees in the private sector, state and local government, and other organizations.
A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, or working.
The law also protects individuals from discrimination because they:
A person is qualified if they have the skills, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the position; and can perform the essential duties of the job. If the person needs a reasonable accommodation to do the job, the employer must provide it except in limited circumstances where doing so would pose an undue hardship for the organization.
A. A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things are done that would allow a person to:
Published February 2003
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