This Act strictly prohibits job discrimination in the workplace. The Act applies to employers who in the course of business have fifteen (15) or more employees working for them. It prohibits any form of discrimination against any individual on the bases of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The law also extends to protecting an employee from being harassed in the workplace.
Harassment is a form of discrimination that affects the productivity, performance and/or wellbeing of an employee. Discrimination, on the other hand, is unfair treatment of employees because of one or more of the following reasons:
- Lack of tolerance of one’s race, sex, color, religion, national origin, genetics, disability or other protected characteristic. Sex in this case covers pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity. Age means the age of forty and above.
- Retaliation for involvement in reporting discrimination in the workplace. This could be because the employee reported an incident of job discrimination or because he/she aided in a lawsuit or investigation about job discrimination.
- Denial of employee perks such as accommodation because of a disability or because of religion.
Unlike harassment, discrimination laws in the workplace include all the laws enforced by the EEOC. Provisions exist to protect employees from loss of wages, termination and lost employment opportunities resulting from reporting discrimination. The EEOC also ensures that employers limit job discrimination by making them liable to legal prosecution unless they provide channels and information to help employees protect themselves against discrimination. Employers are not liable, however, if employees fail to take reasonable advantage of these opportunities. Workers who have been discriminated against are required to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC and obtain a Right to Sue letter before suing their employer for discrimination.