Federal Employment Laws

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older.
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.
  • The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability. It also provides that certain personnel actions can not be based on attributes or conduct that does not adversely affect employee performance, such as marital status and political affiliation.
  • The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) also called the Wagner Act and the Labor-Management Relations Act deals with the role of unions in the workplace and prohibits discrimination in employment based on union activity.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage and overtime standards for employees and regulates the employment of children.
  • Title 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 prohibits employment discrimination based on race or ethnicity.
  • Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination in employment against persons with disabilities, both physical and mental.
  • The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave when an employee or covered family member has a serious health condition which requires medical care or treatment and a physician certifies that leave of the employee is necessary.
  • Executive Orders 11246 & 11478 require that federal contractors and subcontractors adopt affirmative action programs to correct under-utilization of minorities and women.
  • The Drug-Free Workplace Act (DFWA) requires federal contractors to take certain actions to insure that they maintain a drug-free workplace, including advising employees that possession, use or distribution of drugs in the workplace is prohibited; initiating a drug-free awareness program about the dangers of illicit drugs and the availability of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) programs for employees, as well as penalties which can be assessed for violations of the policy.
  • The Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) imposes the general duty to maintain a safe place to work and to comply with OSHA regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • The Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) makes it unlawful to refuse to hire, or to discriminate during employment, because an individual has military service obligations (covers all aspects of employment, including denial of raises, promotions or other benefits of employment).
  • The Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA) makes it unlawful for any person or entity to employ any individual with knowledge that the individual is not authorized to work in the US, as well as to continue to employ an individual if the employer subsequently discovers that the individual is an illegal alien.
  • The Health Maintenance Organization Act (HMO) requires employers with 25 or more employees who are already providing health insurance benefits (contributory or non-contributory) to offer an alternative HMO option to employees, if a qualified HMO is available in the area where at least 25 of the employees live. The Act provides for assessment of a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each 30-day period in which this option is not provided (but certain exceptions extend the deadline, such as where existing contract is in effect which sets annual enrollment dates, in which case the HMO option must be provided during the next open enrollment period).
  • The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) applies to companies with 20 or more employees at work for more than 50% of the work days in the prior year (whether fulltime, part-time or otherwise). The Act allows employees (and/or dependents) who otherwise would lose coverage under company medical insurance plans to continue their existing insurance coverage by payment of the company's cost for such insurance (plus a 2% administrative fee). For non-contributory plans, the employee picks up the entire share of the premium for coverage. For contributory plans, the employee picks up the company's share, plus his own regular contribution.
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) creates certain rules with respect to retirement plans and other benefit plans (mainly insurance plans) offered by companies to their employee.

If you seek legal representation or advice on a specific federal sector topic,  please contact us online or call our office at 1-800-964-8343.


For faster service, please click "Contact Us" and complete our online form. We respond to online inquiries within 24 hours. Please include detailed information in your submission and state whether you have a pending case.


See our "Recent Case Accomplishments."



© 2009 Federal Employee Legal Services Center