upon the death of a principal or agent.
Federal Employment Discrimination
Employment discrimination statutes and regulations in the United States are fundamentally federal in
nature and covers three broad areas in general: employee protections, protections of non-employees
(applicants), and labor-management relationships. Under the old common law, most employer-employee
relationships were employment at will contracts, where either the employer or the employee could
terminate the relationship for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. Modern courts have the
view that the employment at will doctrine can unreasonably attempt to justify unfair employer practices
and as a result a great new body of legislation has emerged.
The modern trend is to use the company employment manuals as a de facto contract between the
employer and the employee. In other words, even in the absence of a formal written agreement between
the parties, most courts today insist that if there exists such a manual and if the manual sets forth
protections and protocols to be followed by both employer and employee, then this becomes an
There are three primary federal statutes that regulate the vast majority of discrimination law today in the
Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 (“Title VII”
and as amended since then), the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In the United States, all worthwhile consideration of equal employment opportunity begins with Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Here, for the first time, the country began to take seriously these issues and
to attempt to redress past wrongs and set a healing path for the future.
Employment discrimination was a happy byproduct of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One could not be
denied employment or promotion opportunities on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, or national origin
for the first time in the United States.
Later add-on legislations to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included the Equal Pay Act, making it unlawful to
pay men and women differently for the same employment based upon gender.
Religious discrimination was also made unlawful under the act by disallowing religion as a basis for hiring
or promotion in the workplace. It also protected numerous lawful religious practices in the workplace
which did not violate the constitution.