An employer must have a certain number of employees to be covered by the laws we enforce. This number varies depending on the type of employer (for example, whether the employer is a private company, a state or local government agency, a federal agency, an employment agency, or a labor union) and the kind of discrimination alleged (for example, discrimination based on a person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information).
Read about the coverage requirements for:
If an employer has the required number of employees, you are protected by the anti-discrimination laws if you are:
If your complaint involves discrimination because of your age or disability, you must meet other requirements in order to be covered.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin by smaller employers (with 4 to 14 employees). Employers with 4 or more employees (and recruiters and referrers for a fee) are also prohibited from discriminating on the basis of citizenship status; discriminating in the employment eligibility verification process; and retaliating under IRCA.
Discrimination charges under IRCA are processed by the Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices:
1-800-255-7688 (voice for employees/applicants),
1-800-237-2515 (TTY for employees/applicants),
1-800-255-8155 (voice for employers), or
1-800-362-2735 (TTY for employers), or
American workers employed by U.S. companies overseas enjoy the same broad protections as workers in the U.S. That means protection under the anti-discrimination laws travels with the employee, so long as the employee is a U.S. citizen working for a U.S. company.
People who are not employed by the employer, such as independent contractors, are not covered by the anti-discrimination laws. Figuring out whether or not a person is an employee of an organization (as opposed to a contractor, for example) is complicated. If you aren't sure whether you are covered, you should contact one of our field offices as soon as possible so we can make that decision.