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Gender Discrimination: Applicable Laws

Below is a list of federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender in a number of settings, and links to the full texts of those laws. (Note: Many states have civil rights laws of their own which mirror those at the federal level, so your state may have its own laws that are very similar to those identified below. In addition, municipalities like cities and counties can enact ordinances and laws related to civil rights.)

  • The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (FindLaw)
    Prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because an applicant receives income from a public assistance program.
  • Fair Housing Act (FindLaw)
    Prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (FindLaw)
    Requires that employers pay all employees equally for equal work, regardless of whether the employees are male or female.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FindLaw)
    Gives employees the right to take time off from work in order to care for a newborn (or recently adopted) child, or to look after an ill family member.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (EEOC)
    Prohibits employment discrimination against female workers who are (or intend to become) pregnant -- including discrimination in hiring, failure to promote, and wrongful termination.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (FindLaw)
    Prohibits sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funds, to increase educational and athletic opportunities for females in schools and colleges nationwide.
  • U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21 -- Civil Rights (FindLaw)
    Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against persons based on age, disability, gender, race, national origin, and religion (among other things) in a number of settings -- including education, employment, access to businesses and buildings, federal services, and more. Chapter 21 is where a number of federal acts related to civil rights have been codified -- including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.
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