Employment Discrimination and Your Small Business

Some may think that employment discrimination applies only to race. This is not true as it also applies to age, gender, religion, national origin and sexual orientation.

Laws

There are a number of laws on the book that prohibit such discrimination. The most cited is the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This law applies to businesses that have at least 15 employees. This law makes it illegal to fire, refuse training, pay less, discipline or refuse to hire someone based
on the above factors.

Equal Pay

The Equal Pay Act mandates that employers cannot pay a woman less for doing the same job that a man earns a higher wage for doing.

Age

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act offers protection to employees over the age of 40 and applies to employers with at least 20 employees.

Disability

The Americans with Disability Act prohibits discrimination by employers with at least 15 employees.

Additionally, the law mandates that employers must make "reasonable accommodations" for the disabled person.

This could include installing special seating or providing equipment, such as a TDD telephone, that would enable the disabled employee to do his or her job.

In addition to the federal laws, some of which were mentioned above, some states, cities and towns have their own regulations.

Obviously, discrimination is wrong, but it is also illegal. Participating in discriminatory hiring practices can result in lawsuits that can be very costly to your business.

Get to know the laws and do whatever you have to do to institute fair hiring and employment practices.