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Federal Employment Law Snapshots


This list was updated to be part of the FREE tutorials in the new Version 6.0 of our client interface The Integrity Connection (tm).


What does it do: Title I requires that employers (which includes  religious entities) with 15 or more employees provide qualified  individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from  the full range of employment-related opportunities available to  others. It prohibits discrimination in recruitment, hiring, promotion,  training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment.

Monitored - Enforced by: Complaints must be filed with the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within  180 days of the date of discrimination, or 300 days if the charge  is filed with the designated State or local fair employment practice  agency. After a "right-to-sue" letter is received from the EEOC  the individual can file a lawsuit in Federal court.

Year enacted/amended: 1990


What does it do: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act  (ADEA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the  basis of age, unless age is a bona fide occupational qualification,  or the practice is based on reasonable factors other than age. It  covers employers with 20 or more employees, labor unions with  25 or more members, local and state governments, and employment  agencies. ADEA says you can't, among other things, refuse to  hire an applicant because he or she is over 40, or force an employee  to retire because of age.

Monitored - Enforced by: The Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC) shall have the power to make investigations  and require the keeping of records necessary or appropriate for  the administration of this chapter in accordance with the powers  and procedures provided.

Year enacted/amended: 1967/1978


What does it do? The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation  Act (COBRA) was designed to permit individuals who would  otherwise lose their health insurance coverage to continue coverage  through their employer or former employer at group rates if they are  willing to pay the full premium themselves. The law requires employers  to offer the opportunity to purchase continued group health coverage  to four overlapping but distinct groups:

o Employees and their families who lose coverage because of the  employee's termination or reduction in hours.

o Divorcees, widows, and their children who lose coverage as a  result of divorce or the death of an employed spouse.

o Dependent children who lose coverage because they exceed the  plan's age limit for eligibility.

o Spouses and dependent children who lose group coverage because  the covered employee became entitled to Medicare.

COBRA also provides continuation coverage for retired employees  and their spouses and children who lose coverage because the  employer is involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

Monitored - Enforced by: Departments of Labor and Treasury.  The Internal Revenue Service (apart of the Department of Treasury)  is responsible for publishing regulations on COBRA provisions  relating to eligibility and premiums. The Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shall have the power to make  investigations and require the keeping of records necessary or  appropriate for the administration of this chapter in accordance  with the powers and procedures provided.

Year enacted/amended: 1986


What does the law do? A State department of motor vehicles,  and any officer, employee, or contractor, thereof, shall not  knowingly disclose or otherwise make available to any person  or entity any personal information about any individual obtained  by the department in connection with a motor vehicle record.

Monitored - Enforced by: The U.S. Attorney General, State  departments of motor vehicles, and any individual whose personal  information has knowingly or unknowingly been released/used  without permissible use.

Year enacted/amended: 1994/1997


The EEOC was established by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act  of 1964 and began operating on July 2, 1965. With its headquarters  in Washington, D.C., and through the operations of 50 field offices  nationwide, the EEOC coordinates all federal equal employment  opportunity regulations, practices, and policies. The Commission  interprets employment discrimination laws, monitors the federal  sector employment discrimination program, provides funding and  support to state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies  (FEPAs), and sponsors outreach and technical assistance programs.

Monitored - Enforced by: The EEOC enforces the following federal  statutes: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended,  prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color,  religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in  Employment Act of (ADEA) of 1967, as amended, prohibiting  employment discrimination against individuals 40 years of age and  older; the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 prohibiting discrimination  on the basis of gender in compensation for substantially similar work  under similar conditions. Title I and Title V of the Americans with  Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, prohibiting employment discrimination  on the basis of disability in the private sector and state and local  government; Section 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,  as amended, prohibiting employment discrimination against federal  employees with disabilities; and The Civil Rights Act of 1991  providing monetary damages in cases of intentional discrimination  and clarifying provisions regarding disparate impact actions.

Year enacted/amended: 1964


What does the law do? Businesses cannot request, suggest or require  any job applicant to take a pre-employment polygraph examination.  Additionally, businesses can request a current employee to take a  polygraph examination or suggest to an employee that a polygraph  examination be taken, only when specific conditions have been  satisfied. However, the employer cannot require current employees  to take the examination, and if an employee refuses a request or  suggestion, the employer cannot discipline or discharge the employee  based on the refusal to submit to the examination.

Monitored - Enforced by: The Secretary of Labor has the  enforcement authority.

Year enacted/amended: 1988


What does the law do? The purpose of ERISA is to protect the  interests of participants and their beneficiaries in employee  benefit plans. The law requires that sponsors of private employee  benefit plans provide participants and beneficiaries with adequate  information regarding their plans. Additionally, those individuals  that manage the plans (and other fiduciaries) must meet certain  standards of conduct, derived from the common law of trusts and  made applicable (with certain modifications) to all fiduciaries. The  ERISA also contains detailed provisions for reporting to the  government and disclosure to participants.

Monitored - Enforced by: The administration of ERISA is divided  among the Labor Department, the Internal Revenue Service of the  Department of Treasury, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty  Corporation (PBGC). Title 1 contains rules for reporting and  disclosure, vesting, participation, funding, fiduciary conduct, and  civil enforcement, and is administered by the Department of  Labor. The ERISA Title II, which amended the Internal Revenue  Code to parallel many of the Title I rules, is administered by the  IRS. Title III is concerned with jurisdictional matters and with  coordination of enforcement and regulatory activities by the  Department of Labor and the IRS. Title IV covers the insurance  of defined benefit pension plans and is administered by the PBGC.

Year enacted/amended: 1974/1986


What does the law do? The purpose of the FCRA is to require  Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA) to adopt reasonable  procedures for meeting the needs of commerce for consumer  credit, personnel, employment, insurance, and other information  in a manner which is fair and equitable to the consumer, with  regard to the confidentiality, accuracy, relevancy, and proper  utilization of such information in accordance with the requirements  of this title. Note that the amended law does not apply just to  credit reports as is commonly thought. Also note that CRAs  are not just credit bureaus. Any organization that issues a report  on a consumer is a CRA.

Monitored - Enforced by: Compliance with the requirements  imposed under this title shall be enforced under the Federal  Trade Commission Act by the Federal Trade Commission with  respect to consumer reporting agencies and all other persons  subject under the title, except to the extent that enforcement  of the requirements imposed under this title is specifically  committed to some other government agency.

Year enacted/amended: 1970/1999


What does the law do? The FLSA provided for minimum  standards for both wages and overtime entitlement, and  lists the administrative procedures by which covered  worktime must be compensated. Also included in the  FLSA are provisions for child labor and equal pay.

Monitored - Enforced by: The Wage and Hour Division in  the Employment Standards Administration of the Department  of Labor administers the FLSA for private employers, state  and local governments, the Library of Congress, the United  States Postal Service, the Postal Rate Commission, and the  Tennessee Valley Authority. The U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission administers the equal pay provisions  of the FLSA. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management  administers the FLSA provisions with respect to any person  employed by a Federal agency.

Year enacted/amended: 1938/2000


What does the law do? The FMLA provides certain employees  with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave a year,  and requires group health benefits to be maintained during the  leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking  leave. The act applies to all: public agencies, including state,  local and federal employers, local education agencies (schools)  private-sector employers who employed 50 or more employees  in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar  year and who are engaged in commerce or in any industry or  activity affecting commerce - including joint employers and  successors of covered employers.

Monitored - Enforced by: U.S. Department of Labor,  Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division.

Year enacted/amended: 1993/1995


The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established the  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the  U.S. Department of Labor. The primary purpose of the OSHA  Act is to provide, so far as possible, every working person in the  nation safe and healthful working conditions. Some of the major  responsibilities under the OSHA are as follows:

Employers are responsible for providing their employees
a workplace free from recognized hazards that may cause
death or serious harm;

Employers must comply with standards, record keeping,
and reporting requirements, and

Each employee is responsible for his or her own
personal safety by complying with the OSHA Act.

In fiscal year 2001, OSHA has a staff of 2,370 including 1,170  inspectors and a budget of $426 million. Sharing the responsibility  for oversight of workplace safety and health are 26 states that  run their own OSHA programs with 2,948 employees and  1,275 inspectors.

Monitored - Enforced by: The Department of Labor is responsible  for the enforcement of the Act. This is accomplished through its  inspectors and its own internal review procedures. If, however,  a decision of the Administration is disputed the case is then  forwarded to the Occupational Safety and Health Review  Commission. The Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial  agency established by the Act and is charged with ruling on cases  forwarded to it by the DOL. The Commission is more of a court  system than a simple tribunal, for within the Commission there  are two levels of adjudication. All cases that require a hearing  are assigned to an administrative law judge, who decides the  case. Ordinarily the hearing is held in the community where the  alleged violation occurred or as close as possible. At the hearing  the Secretary of Labor will generally have the burden of proving  the case. After the hearing the judge will issue a decision, based  on the findings of fact and conclusions of law. A substantial  number of the decisions of the judges become final orders of the  Commission. However, each decision is subject to discretionary  review by the three members of the Commission upon the  direction of any one of the three, if done within 30 days of the  filing of the decision. When that occurs, the Commission issues  its own decision. Once a case is decided, any person adversely  affected or aggrieved may obtain a review of the decision in the  United States Courts of Appeals.

Year enacted/amended: 1970


What does the law do? The Rehabilitation Act was the first  "rights" legislation to prohibit discrimination against people with  disabilities. However, this law applies to programs conducted by  Federal agencies, those receiving federal funds, such as colleges  participating in federal student loan programs, Federal  employment, and employment practices of businesses with  federal contracts. The standards for determining employment  discrimination under this act are the same as those used in  Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Monitored - Enforced by: The enforcement and compliance of  the act are shared with several Federal departments or agencies  such as: the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs  in the U.S. Department of Labor; the Disability Rights Section,  Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; and the  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Year enacted/amended: 1973/1998


What does the law do? The USERRA prohibits discrimination  against persons because of their service in the Armed Forces  Reserve, the National Guard, or other uniformed services.  USERRA prohibits an Employer from denying any benefit of  employment on the basis of an individual's membership,  application for membership, performance of service, application  for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services.  The act also protects the rights of veterans, reservists, National  Guard members, and certain other members of the uniformed  services to reclaim their civilian employment after being absent  due to military service or training.

Monitored - Enforced by: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel  is authorized by the USERRA to investigate alleged violations  of the act by Federal executive agencies, and to prosecute  meritorious claims before the Merit Systems Protection Board  (MSPB) on behalf of the aggrieved person. All other claims  of alleged violations must be filed with the Department of  Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).

Year enacted/amended: 1994

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