Anti-discrimination laws (Case Laws) - Employment discrimination - a list of anti-discrimination acts

Discrimination Meaning:

Bias or prejudice resulting in denial of opportunity, or unfair treatment in selection, promotion, or transfer of employee. Discrimination is practised commonly on the grounds of person's age, disability, ethnicity, origin, political belief, race, religion, sex, etc. factors which are irrelevant to a person's competence or suitability.

Unequal treatment provided to one or more parties on the basis of a mutual accord or some other logical or illogical reason.


Within sociology, 'discrimination' is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. Discrimination is the actual behavior towards members of another group. It involves excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to other groups. Moral philosophers have defined it as disadvantageous treatment or consideration. This is a comparative definition. An individual need not be actually harmed in order to be discriminated against. He or she just needs to be treated worse than others for some arbitrary reason. If someone decides to donate to help orphan children, but decides to donate less, say, to black children out of a racist attitude, he or she will be acting in a discriminatory way even if he or she actually benefits the people he discriminates against by donating some money to them.The United Nations stance on discrimination includes a statement that: "Discriminatory behaviors take many forms, but they all involve some form of exclusion or rejection."

Anti-discrimination law refers to the law on people's right to be treated equally. Some countries mandate that in employment, in consumer transactions and in political participation people may be dealt with on an equal basis regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality and sometimes religion and political views.This is a list of anti-discrimination acts (often called discrimination acts), which are laws designed to prevent discrimination.

HRM relationship with Labour laws >> [USA]

Facts [+]

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) collected a record $45,156,462 from federal contractors and subcontractors in violation of employee discrimination laws in 2007. Employers who do business with the federal government are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or covered veteran status.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers with twenty or more employees from discriminating because of age against employees aged forty and older in the terms and conditions of employment. ADEA also created standards for protecting an older worker's work benefits and for waivers of legal rights by older employees in return for retirement incentives.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is a wide-ranging civil rights law in US that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. In the workplace, employers must provide reasonable accommodation for the physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual to enable him or her to perform the essential functions of a job.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was enacted in 1994. The law prohibits discrimination or denial of employment against persons because of their military service. USERRA also protects the right of veterans and reservists to reclaim their civilian employment after being absent due to military service or training.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) bars employers from hiring individuals who are not legally entitled to work in the U.S. Employers must verify work eligibility by completing Form I-9 along with required supporting documents. IRCA also prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring, firing, recruiting, or referring on the basis of national origin or citizenship status

Many firms in the United States have faced lawsuits for showing discrimination against employees. In fact some companies have faced lawsuits mistakenly for identifying best performers and promoting them. There was a misunderstanding among employees and management that led to filing of lawsuits against Management of companies under the provisions of anti-discrimination laws in the United States.

Employment discrimination refers to disabling certain people to apply and receive jobs based on their race, age, gender, religion, height, weight, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. In relationship to sociology, employment discrimination usually relates to what events are happening in society at the time. For example, it would have seemed ludicrous to hire an African American male and absolutely unheard of to hire an African American woman over 50 years ago. However, in our society today, it is the absolute norm to hire any qualified person.

Many laws prohibit employment discrimination. If a person uses discriminatory hiring practices, they can be sued for hate crimes. However, some minority groups (notably LGBT people) remain unprotected by U.S. federal law from employment discrimination.

The American federal laws that protect against:

    • Race, color and national origin discrimination include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of sex. The law covers employers with fifteen or more employees, and prohibits sex-based discrimination in hiring, advancement, or any other terms or conditions of employment. The law also includes discrimination based on maternity, pregnancy and sexual orientation.

    • Equal Pay Act of 1963.

    • age Discrimination include the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

    • The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)

    • Physical and mental disability discrimination include the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.

    • Religious discrimination include the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    • Military status discrimination include the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974.

Most other western nations have similar laws protecting these groups.

United State's Case Laws

Title VII makes it “unlawful . . . for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual . . . because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” 42 U. S. C. § 2000e–2(a)(1). An employer violates Title VII when it intentionally fires an individual employee based in part on sex. Because discrimination on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status requires an employer to intentionally treat individual employees differently because of their sex, an employer who intentionally penalizes an employee for being homosexual or transgender also violates Title VII.

Facts [+]

BFOQ is a human resources acronym that stands for Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (US). A BFOQ is a job requirement that permits an employer to legally discriminate on the basis of sex, age, religion or national origin. BFOQ job requirements are very rare. Job examples include working in a women's locker room, modeling dresses, or playing the part of a woman in a play or movie.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) collected a record $45,156,462 from federal contractors and subcontractors in violation of employee discrimination laws in 2007. Employers who do business with the federal government are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or covered veteran status.

In Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp., 400 U. S. 542, a company was held to have violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by refusing to hire women with young children, despite the fact that the discrimination also de-pended on being a parent of young children and the fact that the company favoured hiring women over men.In Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power v. Manhart, 435 U. S. 702, an employer’s policy of requiring women to make larger pension fund contributions than men because women tend to live longer was held to violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 -Title VII’s message is “simple but momentous”: An individual employee’s sex is “not relevant to the selection, evaluation, or compensation of employees.” Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U. S. 228, 239 (1989) (plurality opinion).

Courts began to recognize that sexual harassment can sometimes amount to sex discrimination. See, e.g., Barnes v. Costle, 561 F. 2d 983, 990 (CADC 1977).

Americans with Disabilities Act’s directive that no “‘public entity’” can discriminate against any “‘qualified individual with a disability.’” Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections v. Yeskey, 524 U. S. 206, 208 (1998).

A policy against hiring mothers but not fathers of young children wasn’t discrimination because of sex. See Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp., 411 F. 2d 1 (CA5 1969), rev’d, 400 U. S. 542 (1971) (per curiam).

Treating women with children differently from men with children violated Title VII. Phillips, 400 U. S., at 544.

By the late 1970s, courts began to recognize that sexual harassment can sometimes amount to sex discrimination. See, e.g., Barnes v. Costle, 561 F. 2d 983, 990 (CADC 1977).

Discrimination against gays and lesbians to discrimination against a person who is married to or has an intimate relationship with a person of a different race. Several lower court cases have held that discrimination on this ground violates Title VII. See, e.g., Holcomb v. Iona College, 521 F. 3d 130 (CA2 2008); Parr v. Woodmen of World Life Ins. Co., 791 F. 2d 888 (CA11 1986).

Discrimination because of sexual orientation is different. It cannot be regarded as a form of sex discrimination on the ground that applies in race cases since discrimination because of sexual orientation is not historically tied to a project that aims to subjugate either men or women. An employer who discriminates on this ground might be called “homophobic” or “transphobic,” but not sexist. See Wittmer v. Phillips 66 Co., 915 F. 3d 328, 338 (CA5 2019) (Ho, J., concurring).

sexual harassment may constitute sex discrimination within the meaning of Title VII. See Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U. S. 57 (1986).

The failure to use their preferred pronoun violates one of the federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination. See Prescott v. Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, 265 F. Supp. 3d 1090, 1098–1100 (SD Cal.2017)

Vlaming v. West Point School Board, No. 3:19–cv–00773 (ED Va., Oct. 22, 2019) (contending that high school teacher’s firing for failure to use student’s preferred pronouns was based on nondiscrimination policy adopted pursuant to Title IX).

Gay and lesbian Americans “cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth.” Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n, 584 U. S.

Reference : Below given judgement


This is a list of anti-discrimination acts (often called discrimination acts), which are laws designed to prevent discrimination.

United States of America

    • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

    • Age Discrimination Act of 1975

    • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

    • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

    • California Fair Employment and Housing Act

    • Civil Rights Act of 1871

    • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    • Civil Rights Act of 1968

    • Civil Rights Act of 1991

    • Employment Non-Discrimination Act

    • Equal Pay Act of 1963

    • Executive Order 11478

    • Executive Order 13166 – “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency”

    • Fair Employment Act of 1941

    • Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 - enables qualified employees to take prolonged unpaid leave for family and health-related reasons without fear of losing their jobs. For private employers with 15 or more employers

    • Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

    • Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965

    • Lloyd – La Follette Act (1912)

    • No-FEAR Act

    • Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

    • Rehabilitation Act of 1973


Article 15 of the Constitution Of India

Article 15(1) specifically bars the state from discriminating against any citizen of India on grounds only of religion, race, Caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them.

Article 15(2) prohibits subjection of a citizen to any disability, liability, restriction or condition on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth with regard to—

a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of entertainment, or

b) the use of wells, thanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of the state funds are dedicated to the use of general public.

Under article 15(3) , the state is not prevented from making any special provisions for women and children.

Under article 15(4) are article 29(2) does not prevent the state from making any provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens of the scheduled castes and the scheduled Tribes.

Provisions contained in the article 15 and article 16 are merely enabling provisions. No citizen of India can claim reservation as a matter of right and accordingly no root of mandamus can be issued.

Article 16(1) guarantees equality of opportunity to all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state. According to the article 16(2), no citizen can be discriminated against or be ineligible for any employment or office under the state, on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth or residence or any of them.

It is one of the duties enshrined in Article 51 A (h) of the Constitution “To develop a scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.” The key word is “humanism” which is the brotherhood of man. While Article 51A (h) lays down the duty of the citizens, there is Article 14 of the Constitution which imposes a positive duty on the State to ensure equality before law and gives equal protection of law to all persons, irrespective of their nationality, within the territory of India.

B.S. Minhas Vs Indian statistical Institute AIR 1984 SC 363, 371 : (1983) 4 SCC 582 When a rule requires that before appointment to a post, it should be suitably publicised, appointment made to the post without publicity is invalid.

B.N. Nagarajan Vs State of Mysore , AIR 1966 SC 1942: (1966) 3SCR 682; Supra. Post and conditions of service should be advertised before making the selection so that everyone eligible for the post may have an opportunity of being considered by appointing authority.

Principal, Mehar Chand Polytechnic Vs Anu Lamba, (2006) 7 SSC 161 : AIR 2006 SC 3074. The recruitment rules are to be framed with a view to give equal opportunity to all the citizens of India and title for being considered for recruitment in the vacant posts.

Anti-discrimination laws in the India

    • The Caste Disabilities Removal Act, 1850

    • Hindu Succession Act, 1956 - Abolished the "limited owner" status of women who owned property, amended in 2004 to give daughters equal inheritance rights with sons.

    • Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

Case laws - India

(CRM-M No.13502 of 2020

Amarjit Singh Vs. State of Punja)

Court held that : "After all, the mind has no skin. May I ask what colour is God’s skin, and is there is any God, if anyone knows. Let us stamp out any thought process on unfair social or racial discrimination based on caste, creed, nation race and skin, on the equator or off it, on a whim of suspicion in an anticipated criminal investigation." ----------- High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

All foreigners in India that they should be not called by any derogatory name while dealing with them. All Indian as well foreign nationals shall be treated with respect and dignity in all kinds of dealings and their safety and security must be given due regard throughout the State of Punjab.

Reference to a foreign national in any official documentation must be made with respect to her/his country of origin alone. For example: American Citizen, Spanish Citizen, South African Citizen etc.

Usage of any racial/racially-coloured term of reference for any foreign national is completely forbidden and such an act will invite stringent action against the concerned personnel as it goes against the ideals &values of mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and the spirit of universal common brotherhood.

It is specifically directed that usage of terms like ‘Nigro’/‘Negro’ for referring to any foreign national in case papers or for addressing them at any time is completely prohibited. This tantamount to stigmatization of an entire class of people based upon their skin colour, which is abhorrent to the very principles of equality in a civilized society.”

Following the Court's directions issued last month, the Director General of Police, Punjab, Chandigarh issued a circular No.5576/CR-LA-5/ Dated: 16.6.2020 on the issue of “using appropriate terms of reference for addressing persons from various nationalities in all official documents."

As there was Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) in countries like United States of America (USA), United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Hong Kong and South Africa for the purpose of providing equal opportunity in employment and education for deprived people, India union Ministry of minority resolve to constitute an Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) during the 12th plan.


    • Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)

    • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986

    • Disability Discrimination Act 1992

    • Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Victoria)

    • Racial Discrimination Act 1975

    • Sex Discrimination Act 1984


    • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

    • Canadian Employment Equity Act

    • Canadian Human Rights Act

    • Ontarians with Disabilities Act

    • Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

    • European Union

    • Directive 76/207/EEC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions

    • Directive 2000/43/EC on Anti-discrimination

    • Directive 2004/113/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services

    • Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation


    • Edict of Nantes 1598


    • General Equal Treatment Act of 2006

Hong Kong

    • Disability Discrimination Ordinance

    • Family Status Discrimination Ordinance

    • Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance

    • Race Discrimination Ordinance

    • Sex Discrimination Ordinance


    • Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention, 1925

    • Convention against Discrimination in Education, 1960

    • Equality of Treatment (Social Security) Convention, 1962

    • Convention concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers, 1975

    • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979

    • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965

    • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    • Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958

    • Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951

    • Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, 2000

South Africa

    • Chapter 2 of the Constitution of South Africa

    • Employment Equity Act, 1998 [

    • Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000

United Kingdom

    • Disability Discrimination Act 1995

    • Disability Discrimination Act 2005

    • Equal Pay Act 1970

    • Equality Act 2006

    • Equality Act 2010

    • Race Relations Act 1965

    • Race Relations Act 1968 and Race Relations Act 1976 amended by the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000

    • Representation of the People Act 1918

    • Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928

    • Sex Discrimination Act 1975, amended by the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002

    • See also the Employment Equality Regulations covering sexual orientation, religion or belief and age.

Facts [+]

90 percent British firms have no women bosses

LONDON: Around 90 percent of Britain's top companies have no women bosses, according to a parliament report.

A parliament written answer obtained by former Treasury spokesman Matthew Oakeshott said there was no woman executive director in 310 of the top 350 companies in the country, The Sun reported.

Only 43 women are working in other senior roles.

Oakeshott, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, said: "Britain's big businesses are an old boys' club."

16 Jan, 2012, The Economic Times

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