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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. These laws protect employees and job applicants against employment discrimination when it involves:
Unfair treatment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace, because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
Denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation that the employee needs because of religious beliefs or disability.
Retaliation because the employee complained about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Not all employers are covered by the laws we enforce, and not all employees are protected. This can vary depending on the type of employer, the number of employees it has, and the type of discrimination alleged.
An employee or job applicant who believes that he or she has been discriminated against at work can file a "Charge of Discrimination." All of the laws enforced by EEOC, except for the Equal Pay Act, require employees and applicants to file a Charge of Discrimination with us before they can file a job discrimination lawsuit against their employer. Also, there are strict time limits for filing a charge.
The fact that the EEOC has taken a charge does not mean that the government is accusing anyone of discrimination. The charging party has alleged that an employer has discriminated against him or her and it is the EEOC's job to investigate the matter to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred.