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Understanding federal anti-discrimination laws at work

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Whether you are an employee or an employer in California, you should know what laws govern discrimination in the workplace and what businesses must abide by these laws. According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, most companies are covered by at least some portion of the federal anti-discrimination laws.

When identifying which companies must follow which laws, it is the number of employees that generally dicates this. It is important to note that an employee may be a standard full-time employee but may also be seasonal, temporary or part-time employees. Even volunteers may be considered employees for the purposes of these laws.

The burden is on the employer to justify a wage differential

Any company with even one employee is required to provide men and women equal compensation for comparable jobs unless they can actually prove a reason for some difference in compensation. If a business employs more than 14 people, it must not discriminate against those people based upon gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, sex, race, religion, color, national origin, genetic information or disability. For companies with more than 19 employees, discrimination against persons 40 years of age and beyond is also prohibited. Employers are required to make sure that workers know of these laws and the company's policies surrounding them.

Larger employers or those with federal contracts may also be required to submit special reports to the EEOC every year. If you would like to learn more about the federal laws aimed at protecting people against discrimination in the workplace, please feel free to visit the employment discrimination page of our California employment law website.

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