University of Pennsylvania
Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity
Employment Discrimination Laws
Civil Rights Act of 1866 (Section 1981): This law, based
upon the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of
slavery/involuntary servitude), provides basically that "All
shall have the same right
to make and enforce
contracts, to sue, to be parties, give evidence, and to the full
and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of
persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens
This law covers racial/ethnic discrimination in private contractual
relationships such as employment.
Equal Pay Act of 1963: This law prohibits sex discrimination
in wages between employees performing equal work, and it is an amendment
to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. It covers nearly all employers
covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, regardless of race.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act: This law covers many subjects,
including public accommodations and services, in addition to employment
discrimination. Title VI prohibits discrimination by entities receiving
financial assistance. Title VII prohibits discrimination by employers,
labor organizations and employment agencies on the basis of race,
color, sex, religion, and national origin. Title VII also requires
that private employers of 100 or more workers file an EEO report
(EEO6/IPEDS for institutions of higher education) biennially.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: This law
covers discrimination by employers, unions, and employment agencies
against persons aged 40 or more. It was passed as an amendment to
the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973: This law covers only the federal
government, contractors with the federal government, and recipients
of federal financial assistance. Its prohibitions and remedies for
disability discrimination and reasonable accommodation, and various
procedural provisions, vary from section to section. The body of
legal standards and interpretations developed under the Rehabilitation
Act has been incorporated into the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974: This law
deals with the rights of Vietnam Era (September, 1964 through May,
1975) military service veterans, in terms of nondiscrimination by
employers and preferential employment policies by the federal government.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: In addition
to public accommodations, government services, telecommunications,
and other such areas, this law in effect extends the substantive
nondiscrimination and reasonable accommodations requirements of
the Rehabilitation Act to private employers, unions and employment
The Civil Rights Act of 1991: This law basically served
to amend various federal discrimination laws.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972: This law prohibits
discrimination on the basis of sex by entities receiving federal
Federal Executive Orders
E.O. 11246 (1965): This provides that all federal contracts
of a certain amount must contain provisions prohibiting discrimination
on the bases of race, color, religion, or national origin. This
Executive Order requires both equal employment opportunity and affirmative
action. Federal contractors are required to develop, and annually
update, an Affirmative Action Plan, which includes goals and timetables
for the increased utilization of minorities and women. In addition,
firms having non-construction government contracts must keep and
make available records of work force analyses prepared separately
for minorities and women for use in compliance reviews of their
Affirmative Action Plans.
E.O. 11375 (1967): This added sex discrimination provisions
to the above contractual requirements.
E.O. 11141 (1964): This provides for nondiscrimination
on the basis of age as a contractual requirement.
E.O. 11758 (1974): This provides for federal contracts
to contain provisions requiring federal contractors to foster the
employment of qualified handicapped persons.
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act states that it is the policy
of the Commonwealth to "foster the employment of all individuals
in accordance with their fullest capacities regardless of their
race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin,
handicap or disability, use of guide or support animals because
of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because
the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals, and
to safeguard their right to obtain and hold employment without such
discrimination, to assure equal opportunities to all individuals
and to safeguard their rights to public accommodations and to secure
housing accommodation and commercial property regardless of race,
color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national
origin, handicap or disability, use of guide or support animals
because of blindness or deafness of the user or because the user
is a handler or trainer of guide or support animals."
Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act
The act states that it is the policy of the Commonwealth "that
all persons shall have equal opportunities for education regardless
of their race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, sex,
handicap or disability."
Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance
This ordinance states that no employer in the City of Philadelphia
shall discriminate against any employee or applicant in the terms
or conditions of employment on the basis of race, color, sexual
orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry,
age, or handicap.