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Labor Law Series No. 6-A

June 1966

u. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Bureau of Labor Standards Washington, D. C. 20210



State laws against discrimination in employment are designed to promote equal job opportunities among employees or applicants of equal ability,

Manda tory laws against discrimination in private employment because of race, color, religious creed, national origin, or ancestry, commonly called fair employment practice acts, have been enacted in 35 States and Puerto Rico, and a local ordinance has been adopted in the District of Columbia:

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In two other States, Oklahoma and Wrist ParE: 5, 10against discrimination in employment provide for conciliatiua and persuasion but not for mandatory compliance.

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All of the lat's prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, or ancestry. Some also prohibit #crination on other bases, such as 42e in 14 laus (Alaska, gde:sicut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, kiasi casetts, Michigan, New Jersey, P. York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Eico, Washington, and Wisconsin 1/ and sex in 11 laws (Alizona, the District of Columbia,

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1/ In addition, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusects, febraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Phode Island have separate laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on age. See Fact Sheet No. Ú-B, Brief Summary of State Laws Frohibitir: Discrimination in Employnent because of Age, issued by the Bureau of Lator Standards.

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Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Utah,
Wisconsin, aod Wyoming).2/ Discrimination is also prohibited if based
on birth, social position, or political affiliation in Puerto Rico;
on liability for military service ia New Jersey; and on handicap in

Coverage and exemptions

The laws of Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, and Puerto Rico cover all private employment. The other 31 contain specific exemptions.

Both domestic service and employment of a person by his parent, spouse, or child are exempted in 18 jurisdictions:

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In addition, Wisconsin exempts such family employment, and Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Utah exempt domestic service. Iowa also exempts "personal services."

Agricultural labor is exempted in California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. (California has suspended this exemption for 2 years for workers hired between September 18, 1965 and September 17, 1967.)

Nonprofit social clubs and religious, fraternal, charitable, or certain educational organizations are exempted in 9 laws (Alaska, California, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island), and these crganizations are exempted under the Pennsylvania law with respect to practices based on religion only. Religious organizations are exempt under the laws of Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, and certain private clubs or fraternal organizations in Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin.

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2/ In addition, the Colorado law prohibits discrimination in apprenticeship tecause of sex, and the Alaska and Vermont antidis. crimination laws contain equal pay provisions. (For information on State equal pay provisions or laws, see Digest of Equal Pay Laws, published by the Women's Bureau.)

Employers having fewer thaa a specified number of employees are exempted under 26 laws:

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Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, New York,

Ohio, Rhode Island.....
California, Connecticut
Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts,

New Hampshire, New Jersey,

Oregon, Pennsylvania...
Kentucky, Michigan, Washington..
Missouri, Utah.....
Maryland, Nebraska.

(75 second year; 50 third year;
25 thereafter)

fewer than 6
fewer than 8
fewer than 15
fewer than 20
fewer than 25
fewer than 90
fewer than 100

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Discriminatory practices prohibited

Some of the laws contain general prohibitions. For example, the Indiana law defines "discriminate" as meaning "to exclude from or fail or refuse to extend to a person equal employment opportuni; ties

because of race, creed, color, national origin, or ancestry." Most of the laws make specific employment practices unlawful. 3/

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By employers.--Most of the laws specifically prohibit such practices as refusing to hire or employ; tarring; discharging; or otherwise discriminating with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

By labor organizations.--The laws generally prohibit labor organizations from discriminating against members, employers, or employees. For example, 34 laws (all except Idaho, Maine, and Montana) provide that a union may not discriminatorily exclude or expel ouch poreon from membership.

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3/ The New Hampshire law prohibits specific practices and also indicates that "unlawful discriminatory practices" includes practices prohibited by the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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By employment agencies.--Beployment agencies are prohibited
from discriminatiag against Job applicants, for example, 20 laws
specifically prohibit failing or refusing to classify persoas propos
erly or to refer them for employment:

New York
Connecticut Maryland

District of Michigan

Columbia Minnesota

Rhode Island




Advertising, application forms, and inquiries.--Discriminatory advertising is prohibited in 30 jurisdictions. Under 23 laws employe ers and employment agencies are forbidden to print or circulate any advertisement or publication, to use any applicatica fom, or to make any inquiry which expresses any unlawful limitation, specification, or discrimination:

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Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, and Vermont prohibit discriminatory advertislag, but not discriminatory application forms or inquiries.

These prohibitions also apply to labor organizations la about half of the laws; to applicants for employment or membership in a few; and to apprenticeship committees or training schoolo in a few. None of the provisions apply specifically to newspapers; however, newspapers have been determined to be in violation of the "aiding and abetting" provisions if they accept discriminatory advertisements,

Most of the States which prohibit discriminatory inquiries have 18sued "pre-employment inquiry guides" indicating discriminatory questions that jot applicants may not be asked, such as their complexion or color of skin. The guides prohibit requests for religious references, birth certificates, or photographs, as well as inquiries about membership in organizations that may reveal race, religion, or nationality.

Massachusetts amended its law to authorize the keeping of records that reflect race or national origin if necessary to comply with the reporting requirements of Federal law.

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