Continuing with the theme of employment law coverage, let’s turn our focus to federal laws regarding equal employment opportunity and reductions in force.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to employers with fifteen (15) or more employees who worked for the employer for at least twenty (20) calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.  Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), and national origin.

Americans with Disabilities Act:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employers with fifteen (15) or more employees who worked for the employer for at least twenty (20) calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.  The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of disability.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act:
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) applies to employers with fifteen (15) or more employees who worked for the employer for at least twenty (20) calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.  GINA prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information of the employee or the employee’s family members. 

Age Discrimination in Employment Act:
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to employers with twenty (20) or more employees who worked for the company at least twenty (20) calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.  The ADEA prohibits discrimination on the basis of age against employees who are over forty (40) years old, with some very limited exceptions.

Older Works Benefit Protection Act:
The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) amended the ADEA to prohibit employers from denying benefits to older employees.  In connection with an exit incentive program or other employment termination program, the OWBPA requires employers to provide specified information and census data in an understandable format to employees participating in the program. 

Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act:
And finally, the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) applies to employers with one hundred (100) or more employees (not counting certain specified employees per the statute). The WARN Act requires that employers conducting certain types and sizes of layoffs provide notice at least sixty (60) days in advance to employees and appropriate agencies.

Remember that (1) state and local governments may prohibit discrimination on additional classifications, including, for example, gender identity, sexual orientation, family status, and others; and (2) this is not a comprehensive list of federal employment laws.

Next week we will turn our focus to Indiana state employment laws. 

Action Items:
Moving forward, employers should:

  1. Carefully assess whether these laws apply to your business (you may wish to consult with a qualified employment attorney);
  2. Explore any possible exemptions or exceptions that may apply to your business; and
  3. Draft and implement policies that are compliant with the laws to prevent violations.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding these issues.

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