LAWS AND EXECUTIVE ORDERS AFFECTING EMPLOYMENT

Civil Rights Act of 1866 – Prohibits employers from denying persons (employees and applicants) equal protection on the laws.

Civil Rights Act of 1871 – Prohibits local government officials from acting under color of local law or custom to deprive citizens of constitutional rights.

Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 – Known as the prevailing wage rate law. It covers workers in public work contracts such as construction, etc. Applies to laborers and mechanics at the job site for contracts above $2,000. Prevailing wage established by the Secretary of Labor (usually the local union wage rate) . Intended to stop importation of cheaper labor in order to undercut local wages.

Copeland Act of 1934 – Law prohibits unfair treatment of employees by federal contractors. Contractors may not demand that employees pay back part of their wages to employer. There is some evidence that this existed as an attempt to circumvent the Davis-Bacon Act Contractors must file statements to show wages paid and the deductions from wages Anti-Kickback Act, 1948 amended the Copeland Act to reinforce the prohibition against kickbacks to employers.

Wagner Act of 1935 – established the rights of industrial employees to form unions and to bargain collectively with management as well as to engage in activities such as strikes, picketing, and boycotts. The Act provided the basic model for the labor relations process that would later develop in the public sector.

Walsh-Healey Act of 1936 – (Public Contracts) Extended the Davis-Bacon Act to all government contracts exceeding $10,000. Required minimum wage rates and overtime pay on contracts to provide goods to the federal government. Overtime is required to be paid at the rate of 1 1/2 times the hourly rate for all hours in excess of 40 hours per week Originally this law required overtime for all work above 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day. The 8 hour day requirement was eliminated by a recent Defense Authorization Bill.

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 – targeted private industry initially setting a minimum wage for workers and requiring overtime for hours worked over 40 per week, time keeping records and reporting. This Act is administered by the Department of Labor. In 1985 the U. S. Supreme Court brought all functions of local government under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Portal to Portal Act of 1947 – Amended the FLSA. Clarified some specific “hours of work” circumstances. Generally the normal travel time to work is not compensable. Employer’s restrictions about what an employee can do or where he can go when off duty may constitute working time which will be compensable.

Taft-Hartley Labor Act of 1947– was initiated by the Republican Party amended the Wagner Act and prohibited unfair labor practices by unions.. It was an anti-labor law which outlawed wildcat strikes and union shops. It also increased the size of the National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB)

Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959 – amended the Wagner Act giving rights to union members. The Act is important because it provides the model for public sector labor legislation at the state level.

Equal Pay Act of 1963– an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act dealing with wage discrimination against women. Men and women doing the same or substantially similar work requiring skill, effort, and responsibility under the same conditions must be paid the same. There are exceptions for seniority, productivity and merit. Prohibits employers from reducing the pay of a man in order to provide equal pay for a woman.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the EEO Act of 1972 –

The most comprehensive civil rights statute. It prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of: 1) race, 2) color, 3) religion, 4) sex, or 5) national origin. The law applies to employers to employers with fifteen or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, state and local governments, and educational institutions. Established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and outlined the procedures that the commission should follow to prevent unlawful employment practices. Outlawed discrimination in housing, transportation, education, and employment. Once again, the Act was written to regulate the private sector.

Executive Order 11246 signed in 1965, amended by Executive Order 11375 in 1967 and Executive Order 11478 in 1969. This order prohibits employment discrimination by federal government contractors and subcontractors. The order not only prohibits racial discrimination, but also requires contractors and their subcontractors who have 50 or more employees and $50,000 or more of contracts to develop written affirmative action plans and to establish numerical goals and timetables for achieving them. These are administered by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the Department of Labor.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 – is designed to protect employees over the age of 40 and under age 65 from arbitrary and age-biased discrimination in hiring, promotion, training, benefits, compensation, discipline, and terminations. The ADEA applies to all private employers with 20 or more employees, governmental employers, employment agencies, and labor unions with 25 or more members.

Executive Order 11478 in 1969 prohibits discrimination in the U. S. Postal Service and in the various government agencies on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or age

Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 – strengthened enforcement powers of EEOC and extended coverage of the Act to governmental employees, higher education institutions, and other select groups, required the enforcement of Affirmative Action.

Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 –Prohibits employers with federal contracts over $2,500 from discriminating against individuals with disabilities.

Vietnam-Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974 prohibits discrimination against Vietnam-era veterans by federal contractors and the U.S. government and requires affirmative action.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 – prohibits discrimination against women because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. This Act prevents employers from requiring women to take unpaid leaves or to resign due to pregnancy. The Act also requires employers to grant sick leave for childbirth and pregnancy-related illnesses if sick leave is granted for any other medical conditions.

Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 – had a major impact on the personnel function in state and local government. The Civil Service Commission was replaced by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an independent agency intended to work closely with the president to manage the personnel aspects of the federal bureaucracy. The Act created the Merit Systems Protection Board with general oversight functions. The Act also strengthened protection for whistle blowers. It created a merit system for mid-level managers based on job performance and not longevity. The Act also created the Senior Executive Service for the top level of government managers.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 as amended in 1990 and 1996-designed to reduce the number of illegal immigrants coming into the United States for employment. Establishes penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. It also prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship. The IRCA requires employers with four or more employees to verify the right of each job applicant to work. All new employees are required to complete and sign a verification form (Form I-9) to verify citizenship and eligibility for employment as required by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990– This Act protects people with disabilities from job discrimination. An employer may not make any pre-employment inquiries about whether an applicant has a disability either on application forms, in job interviews, or in background or reference checks. In the hiring process, employers are expected to describe the essential functions for the job and then ask the applicants if they can perform them. If an otherwise qualified person needs an accommodation, it is that person’s responsibility to request it and the employer’s responsibility to decides whether it is reasonable. Administered by the EEOC.

Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990– Prohibits age-based discrimination in early retirement and other benefit plans

Civil Rights Act of 1991 – Congress amended the Civil Rights Act in 1991 to define more clearly which actions are discriminatory and what procedures should be followed in prosecuting them. It more severely punishes employers who intentionally discriminate against protected groups. The Act overturns several past Supreme Court decisions and changes damage claim provisions.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 – grants reemployment rights to individuals who enter the military. Employers cannot discriminate on the basis of military obligation in the areas of hiring, job retention, or advancement.

Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 – Extends EEO and Civil Rights Act provisions to the U.S. congressional staff