Legal Reference

Federal employees are protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

These laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( Generally speaking, under those laws it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including: hiring and firing; compensation, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall; job advertisements; recruitment; testing; use of facilities; training and apprenticeship programs; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or other terms and conditions of employment.

Discriminatory practices under those laws include:

• harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, disability, genetic information or age (as defined by the ADEA);

• retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;

• employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and

• denying employment opportunities to a person be¬cause of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability.

Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group. The law prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also practices that have the effect of discriminating against individuals because of their race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.

Rights grounded in civil service laws under Title 5, U.S. Code include those restrictions plus prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, labor organization affiliation or non-affiliation, status as a parent, or any other non-merit-based factor, as well as retaliation for exercising rights under the pertinent laws.

Agencies further must ensure that they afford a non-discriminatory working environment to employees irrespective of their gender identity or changing from living as one gender to the other. This affects issues involving privacy, agency communications, insurance and dress codes. See