Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Federal Laws on Employment
Following is a quick summary of key federal laws related to employment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- Applies only to employers with 15 or more employees.
- Prohibits employers from discriminating in the hiring process based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- Prohibits discrimination against a person with a qualified disability.
- Provides that if an individual with a disability can perform essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation, that person cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their disability.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Prevents employers from giving preferential treatment to younger workers to the detriment of older workers.
- Only applies to workers 40 years of age and older, and to workplaces with 20 or more employees.
- Does not prevent an employer from favoring older employees over younger employees.
Fair Labor Standards Act
- Provides regulation as to the duration of work days, and breaks an employer must provide.
- Governs applicable salary and overtime requirements set out by the federal government.
Family and Medical Leave Act
- Provides that employers must allow employees to take up to a 12-week leave of absence for qualified medical purposes.
- Stipulates that to qualify for the leave, the employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months and for 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the leave.
- Preserves qualified employees' positions for the duration of the leave.
National Labor Relations Act
- Protects the rights of employees and employers.
- Encourages collective bargaining.
- Curtails certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act
- Sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established retirement and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans.
Equal Pay Act
- Labor law that prohibits gender-based wage discrimination in the United States. Signed by President Kennedy in 1963 as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the law mandates equal pay for equal work by forbidding employers from paying men and women different wages or benefits for doing jobs that require the same skills and responsibilities. The bill was among the first laws in American history aimed at reducing gender discrimination in the workplace.
History Channel video on the Equal Pay Act