Legislation from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Americans with Disabilities Act help define the boundaries of the U.S. workplace. Is it discriminatory to terminate a worker who can't attend a Friday-night shift due to religious obligations? Could an employer demote someone who can't carry out the essential functions of a job because of a disability? Fact-specific details shape the answers to these questions, but to understand how such situations might play out, HR professionals need to have at least a working understanding of the nation's employment laws.
Below are five installments of HR Dive's Back to Basics, a column dedicated to laying out the basics of federal employment laws. Of course, other types of discrimination exist outside the kinds banned by these laws. But these pieces cover four statutes enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There's also a column on retaliation, an element of virtually every employment law.