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Employee Life Cycle Part 3: Human Rights & Discrimination Laws

Human Resources

Part of effectively managing your employees is fostering a work environment that's free from discrimination and harassment. Learn more from Paychex HR consultant Margie Bassford about how to comply with applicable federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws.

Discover more about the employee life cycle:

Part 1: Paying Employees

Part 2: Proper Employee Documentation

Part 4: Paid Time Off

Part 5: Employee Behavior & Performance

Part 6: Workplace Safety

Part 7: Employee Handbook Policy

Part 8: Employee Discipline & Termination

Part 9: Attracting & Retaining Talent

Part 10: Deepening Employee Engagement


Part of effectively managing your employees is fostering a work environment that's free from discrimination and harassment. It's critical that you comply with applicable federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws. Ensuring your business complies with these laws may help you minimize employment-related legal actions down the road.

Several federal employment laws prohibit employers from discriminating against any current or potential employee on the basis of a membership in a protected class including, but not limited to, race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, veteran's status, and pregnancy. Some state and local laws include additional protected classes such as marital status and sexual orientation. Some federal anti-discrimination laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on protected classes. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

So what can you do to minimize discrimination pitfalls? First, every business should have one or two designated individuals responsible for understanding existing employment laws and regulations, as well as applicable updates at the federal, state, and local levels. You should also make sure that you know which federal, state, and local employment laws prohibit discrimination in employment and hiring apply to your business.

Managers and employees should be trained on these guidelines and facilitate refresher trainings annually. Have policies which communicate your commitment to stay in compliance and give employees contacts which they may report any claims or retaliation concerns to. Analyze company practices to eliminate possible discriminatory impacts in employment decisions, including hiring, promotion, and access to training.

Lastly, the importance of consistent documentation cannot be emphasized enough. When it comes to matters related to potential employment-related legal action, accurate documentation is essential.

Thanks for watching. To learn more about more aspects of the employee life cycle, please visit

This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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