The following is a brief summary of Federal EEO laws. Keep in mind that there are other state and local laws that relate to EEO. These state and local laws may offer protections and remedies not included in the federal statutes. (Español)
Civil Rights Act of 1886
The first Civil Rights Act, enacted shortly after the abolition of slavery, protects people against discrimination on the basis of race and national origin. Amended by the 1991 Civil Rights Act, the 1866 law extends protection against discrimination in selection as well as in all other terms and conditions of employment.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
Prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, or national origin.
This is the law most often referred to when people discuss equal employment opportunity. Most cases of discrimination are filed under Title VII. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issues Guidelines and assists employers with interpretations of the letter and spirit of the law.
Civil Rights Act of 1991
Amends several EEO laws and provides that victims of intentional discrimination have a right to jury trials and a right to recover punitive and compensatory damages.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967
Amended in 1978 and 1986, states that it is unlawful to discriminate in employment against persons aged 40 and over on the basis of age.
American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Prohibits discrimination in employment against qualified individuals with mental or physical disabilities.
Equal Pay Act of 1963
Gives men and women the right to earn equal pay for doing substantially equal work.
Vietnam Era Veterans Act of 1974
Requires federal contractors to make special efforts to employ persons who served in the Vietnam War.
Executive Order 11246
Requires most federal contractors and subcontractors to prepare written affirmative action plans (AAP). The purpose of these plans is to assure measurable, yearly improvements in hiring, training, and promotion of people of color and females in job categories and to levels where they are seriously under-represented. The effectiveness of the plan is measured by the results it achieves rather than by the results it intends to achieve.