What laws are enforced by the EEOC?

Author- | Posted- | Updated: July 4, 2020 |

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the EEOC is the leading agency in the United States that enforces the laws making it illegal to discriminate against an applicant or an employee on the basis of age, sex, color, race or onme of the various other bases. The EEOC laws cover most of the employers in the United States with at least 15 employees or in the case of age discrimination, more than 20 employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was created with the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. The Commission was created mainly to Enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to eliminate unlawful discrimination in employment. 

The Authority and Role of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) holds the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against the employers covered by the EEOC laws.  The role of EEOC in an investigation is to fairly and accurately assess the allegations made in the charges and then to make a finding on its basis. If it finds out that the allegations are true or that discrimination has occurred, then it tries to settle the charge and if not possible it files a lawsuit to protect the rights of the individuals being discriminated against and the interests of the public. The EEOC also litigates a small portion of these cases. The EEOC considers several factors when deciding whether to file a lawsuit or not. These factors include the strength of the evidence, the issues in the case as well as the wider impact of the lawsuit on the efforts being made by the EEOC to combat workplace discrimination. There are several laws that are enforced by the EEOC and which make it illegal to discriminate against individuals and groups. They are discussed below:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the most far-reaching acts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The title makes it illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of race, religion, color, sex or national origin. Apart from that the law makes retaliation against people illegal who have complained of discrimination, filed a charge against discrimination, participated in an employment discrimination investigation.  This law also requires that the businesses covered under the law accommodate the sincerely held religious practices of applicants and employees unless doing so exposes the business and its operations to undue hardships.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

This law amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make it illegal to discriminate against women due to pregnancy, childbirth, or due to a medical condition related to pregnancy. Apart from that, the law makes it illegal to discriminate against people who have complained of discrimination, filed a charge against discrimination or even participated in employment discrimination related investigation.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963.

This law aims to bring higher pay equality between the two genders. If men and women are doing equal work in the same workplace, this law makes it illegal to pay them different wages. It also makes it illegal t discriminate against a person because he complained of such discrimination, or filed a charge against discrimination or because he was involved in a criminal investigation against discrimination. 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

This act makes it illegal to discriminate against people above 40 years of age. It also makes retaliation against people illegal because they complained against discrimination or because they filed a charge against such discrimination or even because they were involved in a criminal investigation against discrimination.

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

This law makes discrimination against qualified people with disabilities illegal in the private sector as well as the state and the local governments. Apart from that, the law makes it illegal to discriminate against people because they complained against such discrimination, filed a charge or remained involved in an investigation against discrimination. The law requires employers to accommodate such people who are otherwise qualified (applicant or employee) to the extent that it does not impose undue hardships on the business and its operations.

Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991

Apart from other things, this law amends Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act to permit jury trials and compensatory and punitive damages awards in a case where discrimination was intentional.  

Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

This law is similar to Title 1 of the ADA. It makes discrimination against a qualified person with a disability illegal in the Federal government. Apart from that, it makes retaliation against a person who complained of such discrimination or filed a charge against discrimination or was a part of an investigation against discrimination illegal. This law also requires the Federal employers to accommodate the known physical and mental limitations of people with disabilities who are otherwise qualified unless it imposes undue hardships on the employer’s business.  

The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008.

This law makes discrimination against employees or applicants because of genetic information illegal. Genetic information includes information related to a person’s genetic tests or his family members as well as information related to his family member’s disease, disorder or condition (a family member’s medical history). It makes it illegal to discriminate against a person because he complained of discrimination, filed a charged against dsicrimination or because he was involved in a lawsuit or investigation against discrimination.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.