Equal Pay Legislation (1872)
The ideal of “equal pay for equal work” is older than many people realize. In 1872, pioneering female attorney Belva Ann Lockwood, a member of the American Woman Suffrage Association, persuaded the U.S. Congress to pass a law guaranteeing equal pay for women employed as federal employees. (Lockwood later became the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court.)
Equal Pay Act of 1963
Equal Pay Act of 1963 – This landmark legislation forbade employers from paying women less money than men for jobs that require the same skills and responsibilities. Unlike the 1872 “equal pay” law, the Act covered the workforce as a whole, not just the federal government. The Act did allow unequal pay in order to recognize seniority, superior merit, and similar factors, so long as these considerations were not based on gender.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
December 15, 1967
The US Age Discrimination Employment Act Becomes Public Law On this day in history, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) (Pub. L. 90-202) was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The ADEA prevents age discrimination and provides equal employment opportunity under conditions that were not explicitly covered in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also applies to the standards for pensions and benefits provided by employers, and requires that information concerning the needs of older workers be provided to the general public. Specifically, the purpose of the legislation was to prohibit employment discrimination against persons over the age of 40, and “to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; [and] to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment.”
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
An amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this broadened the scope of sex discrimination laws to guarantee that pregnant women were protected as well.
July 26, 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life — to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — the ADA is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more.