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Your Rights

The laws enforced by EEOC provide five basic rights for job applicants and employees who work in the United States. The laws apply to applicants, employees and former employees, regardless of their citizenship or work authorization status. Full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees are protected if they work for a covered employer. All federal government agencies and most other employers with at least 15 employees are covered by our laws. Most unions and employment agencies also are covered. If you work for one of these employers, you have the right to:

Work Free of Discrimination

You have a right to work free of discrimination. This means that your employer cannot make job decisions because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity) national origin, disability, or genetic information. Your employer also can’t discriminate against workers who are 40 or older based on their age. This right applies to all types of job decisions, including hiring, firing, promotions, training, wages and benefits.

Work Free of Harassment

You have a right to work in an environment free of harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older) or genetic information.

Complain About Job Discrimination Without Punishment

You have a right to complain about treatment that you believe is illegal job discrimination. Your employer cannot punish you, treat you differently or harass you if you report job discrimination or help someone else report job discrimination, even if it turns out the conduct was not illegal. We call this your right to be protected from retaliation.

Request Workplace Changes for Your Religion, Disability, or Pregnancy, Childbirth or Related Medical Conditions

You have a right to request reasonable changes to your workplace because of your religious beliefsmedical condition, or pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Although your employer does not have to grant every request, it should carefully consider each request and whether it would be possible.

Keep Your Medical Information Private

The laws enforced by EEOC strictly limit what an employer can ask you about your health. In addition, you have a right to keep any genetic information and medical information you share with your employer private. In general, your employer should not discuss your genetic information or medical information with others. There are very limited exceptions to the confidentiality requirements in the laws enforced by EEOC.

You may have additional workplace rights under other federal, state, or local laws or under your company's own policies. For example, other federal laws require your employer to pay you a minimum hourly wage and to provide you a safe working environment. State and local laws may offer you broader protection than the laws enforced by EEOC, especially if you work for a smaller employer or believe the unfair treatment is because of your age (if under age 40) or some other reason not covered by federal law. To find out more, you should:

  • Check out EEOC's page on other resources for youth workers.
  • Ask your company for copies of any policies that apply to your job.
  • Call the EEOC at 1-800-669-4000.