• Unfair treatment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older) disability or genetic information
• Harassment by managers or co-workers (or others in the workplace) because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information
• Denial of a reasonable accommodation that the employee needs because of religious beliefs or disability
• Retaliation because the employee complained about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
An employer must have a certain number of employees to be covered by federal anti-discrimination laws. This number varies depending on the type of employer (for example, whether the employer is a private company, a government employer, an employment agency or a labor union) and the kind of discrimination involved. For private employers, the following rules apply:
• Employers with 15 or more employees during 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year are subject to federal discrimination protections for race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability and genetic information.
• Employers with 20 or more employees during 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year are subject to federal discrimination protections for age (40 or older).
• Virtually all employers are covered by the federal Equal Pay Act, which makes it illegal to pay different wages to men and women if they perform substantially equal work in the same workplace.
The same general coverage rules apply to state and local government employers, except these employers are subject to federal discrimination protections for age (40 or older) no matter how many employees they have. All federal agencies are covered by these discrimination protections.
In general, an individual within a protected classification must not be treated less favorably than others outside of the protected classification in regard to hiring decisions or employment conditions. An employment decision made because of an employee’s protected classification may lead to a discrimination lawsuit where the employee is entitled to a jury trial and where both compensatory and punitive damages are available.