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Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and Amendments

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Human Resources Laws

I. Major Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Laws and Amendments

a. The Equal Pay Act of 1963: requires that men and women performing equal jobs receive equal pay, with equality defined as in terms of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. It covers all organizations involved in interstate commerce.

b. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This title was signed into law by President Johnson in 1964, and forbids discrimination in employment decisions based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It covers employers with 15 or more employees who work at least part-time, labor unions, and employment agencies. It was enacted to ensure that employment opportunities would be based on merit or ability, rather than race.

c. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): enacted in 1967 and revised in 1986, this act prohibits discrimination against employees over the age of 40 and was designed to protect older employees from being laid off when a firm needs to reduce its workforce.

d. The Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Requires executive agencies and contractors that receive more than $2500 annually from the federal government to engage in affirmative action for individuals with disabilities. It was designed to encourage employers to hire qualified individuals with disabilities and to make reasonable accommodations in order to allow them to become active members of the labor market.

e. Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Act of 1974: similar to the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, this act requires federal contractors to take affirmative action toward employing Vietnam veterans, with enforcement handled by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

f. Pregnancy Discrimination Act: an amendment to Title VII, it makes illegal discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions as a form of illegal sex discrimination. Additionally, employers cannot single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee’s ability to work, and requires health insurance that covers expenses for pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. It also extends pregnancy-related benefits to those who are unmarried, and extends company leave benefits to accommodate pregnancy-related conditions.

g. Civil Rights Act of 1991: amendment to Title VII, with the addition of compensatory and punitive damages awarded in cases of discrimination under Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, with the limit on punitive damages based on the size of the organization.

h. Americans with Disabilities

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