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Laws & Guidance

The types of laws and discrimination that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing are outlined in the following overview. 

  • Federal Laws prohibit workplace discrimination and are enforced by EEOC.  These are passed by Congress and signed by the President.
  • Regulations implement federal workplace discrimination laws. They are voted on by the Commission after the public has a formal opportunity to provide comments to EEOC. Find our current regulations, read and comment on proposed regulations, and see our regulatory agenda at the link above.
  • EEOC Subregulatory Guidance expresses official agency policy and explains how the laws and regulations apply to specific workplace situations. EEOC seeks and obtains input from the public in a variety of ways for these documents before they are voted on by the Commission.
  • Commission Decisions & Commission Opinion Letters. Commission Decisions concern a specific charge of discrimination where the Commission votes to express official agency policy to be applied in similar cases by EEOC. They should not be confused with EEOC's federal sector appellate decisions in federal employee complaints of discrimination. Commission Opinion Letters are approved by vote of the Commission and therefore represent the official position of the Commission. They should not be confused with Informal Discussion letters provided by EEOC-staff.
  • Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)  explain how two or more agencies will cooperate and interact when their enforcement responsibilities overlap. MOUs involving other federal agencies must be approved by a majority of the Commissioners. EEOC also enters into MOUs with foreign embassies and consulates to enhance cooperation on matters involving employment discrimination.
  • Informal Discussion Letters respond to circumstance-specific questions from the public and to other agencies' requests for public comment posted in the Federal Register. They are written by staff in the Office of Legal Counsel and are not official opinions of the Commission.
  • Workplace Laws Not Enforced by the EEOC 
    Federal laws prohibiting discrimination or regulating workplace issues that are not enforced by the EEOC.

Laws, regulations and policy guidance, and also fact sheets, Q&As, best practices, and other information organized by basis of discrimination.