Employers, Employees, and Employment Discrimination


collective bargaining

negotiation of wages and other employment conditions by a union or an organized group of employees

disparate impact

unintentional discrimination, in which otherwise neutral policies have the effect of discriminating

disparate treatment

behavior toward an employee in a protected class in which an employer is intentionally treating them differently from others


someone who works for another person or company for wages, salary, or other forms of compensation

Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)

act preventing employers from using polygraph tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment


person or company that hires others to work in return for salary, wages, or other forms of compensation

employment at will

method of employment that occurs in the absence of a contract or bargaining agreement. An employer may fire an at-will employee for any cause or no cause, as long as the action does not violate antidiscrimination laws.

employment discrimination

situation in which an employer treats an employee differently from others in terms or conditions of employment, based on race, sex, age, nationality, disability, or other factors

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

federal law that establishes minimum wages and overtime pay standards for public-sector and private-sector employees, even those who work part time

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

federal law that allows employees to take job-protected unpaid leave, under certain family and medical conditions

hostile work environment

work environment that is intolerable, either through sexual harassment or other discrimination against a member of a protected class

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

federal law providing for workers' right to bargain collectively with their employer

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

federal board that enforces labor law and the National Labor Relations Act

quid pro quo harassment

type of harassment in which an employee is told they must do something or suffer negative consequences in their employment

sexual harassment

bullying or coercion based on an employee's gender; can involve hostile work environment harassment or quid pro quo harassment

unemployment compensation

compensation designed to provide temporary payments to laid-off workers

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

act designed to protect the jobs of some individuals called up into the military reserves or the National Guard

workers' compensation

compensation designed to provide payment to workers who have been injured during the course of employment