In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was issued. In this act, physical as well as mental disabilities are treated, and they range from paraplegia to Down syndrome and autism. Employment discrimination is discussed in Title I and Title V. In 2008 the President made important amendments to this Act. In particular, the term “disability”¯ was revised. People with disabilities, but approached as qualified and able to perform the main functions within the job cannot be rejected. As for sexual discrimination, it has been stipulated by the orders in twelve states. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been worked out to make a stronger procedural shield. Recently, in 2008 the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act has been presented. According to this act (Title II), job discrimination based on family history and genetic data is forbidden.
Apart from that, according to the Executive Order 11246, the contractors were obliged to follow affirmative actions plans in order to make the representativeness of women and minorities at the workplace stronger. These plans are to include equal opportunity policy statements. Besides, the situation with current work force is reported and analyzed by each contactor. Problem areas are identified and described, while actions to solve the problems are offered and argued with detailed goals, objectives and timetables. Internal audit and reporting systems are required as well.
It is significant to be aware of all the practices mentioned in the laws discussed above. Any aspect of employment is generally meant, but it is better to list them all. These practices are hiring and firing; compensation, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall; job advertisements;Ā recruitment; testing; use of company facilities; training and apprenticeship programs; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; and any other terms and conditions of employment (Dworkin, 2000, p. 277). In addition, harassment based on any of the discrimination factors is prohibited. It is forbidden to relate against the victims of discrimination when they try to defend their rights. It is forbidden to make any employment decisions that are influenced by stereotypes or inadequate assumptions. Employment opportunities cannot be denied for a person satisfying standard job demands. Religious belief cannot be the obstacle for an applicant. Sexual harassment is forbidden, while pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions are to be treated equally to temporary illnesses or similar conditions (otherwise, Pregnancy Based Discrimination is revealed). Age preferences cannot be specified even in job notices (only rare circumstances can be exclusion). “Discrimination on the basis of age by apprenticeship programs, including joint labor-management apprenticeship programs; and denial of benefits to older employees; an employer may reduce benefits based on age only if the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing benefits to younger workers.”¯ (Roemer, 1998, p. 301). Wages cannot be reduced in order to make the salaries equal for men and women, whereas a labor union can be put to blame if it makes the employer violate one of these laws.
What is more, the employees are obliged to inform their employees of their rights protected by the EEOC laws. Special notices should be issued and made available for everyone who may be affected by these laws. It is reasonable to note that not only intentional discrimination is covered by the acts discussed above. If some of the actions and practices made by employees have discriminating effect, the laws will work too.
As for limitations, the Age Discrimination Act did not encompass the citizens under 40 years of age. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 leaves a gap for undue hardship onto the contractor’s business which can free this contractor from employing a disabled applicant. Undue hardship may result from the necessity to provide accommodation. It is stated that “an employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business”¯ (Rabe, 2001, p. 292). The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has not passed the Congress yet.
The body responsible for the procedural and legal activities according to the laws discussed above is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It was created right after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was adopted. All federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies are managed and coordinated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Sexual discrimination at workplace is also oversight by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Other bodies are the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). All of them operate to ensure that prohibition against employment discrimination exist not only on the paper, but are really practiced throughout the United States.
All in all, the U.S. has a well-developed system of laws effecting equal employment opportunity. All the private employers, state and local governments as well as education institutions with 15 or more employees are the subjects of the laws Title VII, the ADA, and GINA. Any private employer employing 20 or more individuals, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor organizations are the subjects of the ADEA. All employers mentioned by the Federal Wage and Hour Law (the Fair Labor Standards Act) are the subjects of the EPA. Finally, each federal agency except government corporations is the subjects of the SCRA. Any individual included into one of the categories covered by laws is able to defend his or her rights and receive compensation. The remedies for employment discrimination include hiring and promotion, back pay and front pay, reinstatement and reasonable accommodation. Attorney’s fees, expert witness fees and court costs are to be compensated as well.