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Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal

Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal

For audio files containing the information in the "Know Your Rights" statement, please click on one of the links below.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Federal laws that protect you from 
discrimination in employment. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against at work or in applying for a job, the EEOC may be able to help.
Who is Protected?
  • Employees (current and former), including managers and temporary employees
  • Job applicants
  • Union members and Applicants for membership in a union.
What Organizations are Covered?
  • Most private employers
  • State and local governments (as employers)
  • Educational institutions (as employers)
  • Unions
  • Staffing agencies
What Types of Employment Discrimination are Illegal?
Under the EEOC’s laws, an employer may not discriminate against you, regardless of your immigration status, on the bases of:
  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, sexual orientation, or gender identity)
  • Age (40 and older)
  • Disability
  • Genetic information (including employer requests for, or purchase, use, or disclosure of genetic tests, genetic services, or family medical history
  • Retaliation for filing a charge, reasonably opposing discrimination, or participating in a discrimination lawsuit, investigation, or proceeding
  • Interference, coercion, or threats related to exercising rights regarding disability discrimination or pregnancy accommodation.
What Employment Practices Can Be Challenged as Discriminatory?
All aspects of employment, including:
  • Discharge, firing, or lay-off
  • Harassment (including unwelcome verbal or physical conduct)
  • Hiring or promotion
  • Assignment
  • Pay (unequal wages or compensation)
  • Failure to provide reasonable accommodation for a disability; pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition; or a sincerely held religious
  • belief, observance, or practice
  • Benefits
  • Job training
  • Classification
  • Referral
  • Obtaining or disclosing genetic information of employees
  • Requesting or disclosing medical information of employees
  • Conduct that might reasonably discourage someone from opposing discrimination, filing a charge, or participating in an investigation or proceeding
  • Conduct that coerces, intimidates, threatens, or interferes with someone exercising their rights, or someone assisting or encouraging someone else to exercise rights, regarding disability discrimination (including accommodation)or pregnancy accommodation
What can You do if You Believe Discrimination has Occurred?
Contact the EEOC promptly if you suspect discrimination. Do not delay, because there are strict time limits for filing a charge of discrimination (180 or 300 days, depending on where you live/work). You can reach the EEOC in any of the following ways:
Submit an inquiry through the EEOC’s Public Portal:
1-800-669-4000 (toll free)
1-844-234-5122 (ASL Video Phone)
Visit an EEOC Field Office (information at (
Additional information about the EEOC, including information about filing a charge of discrimination, is available at (