Discrimination refers to when people are treated unfairly because they belong to a certain group. It comes in many different forms; for example:

Discrimination is illegal in the United States, and there are many laws to protect you against it. Here's a look at some of the different types of anti-discrimination laws in the U.S.

Age Discrimination Act of 1975

The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 makes it illegal for people to be discriminated against, due to their age, for programs and activities that receive federal funding. Because of this law, people are expected to be treated equally regardless of their age when participating in a program that receives federal funding.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

This Act forbids employers from discriminating against employees or prospective employees based on a disability, a history of a disability or a perception of a disability. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against those with disabilities in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, job assignments, compensation, vacation time, etc.

Equal Pay Act of 1963

This Act makes it illegal for employers to pay men and women different rates for the same work. In other words, this law attempts to stop gender discrimination in the workplace when it comes to wages.

Traditionally, men have been paid more than women for similar work. Even in the present day (2017), there is still a wage gap. However, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was designed to eliminate this.

This law only applies when the work is the same or similar. For example, it would apply to an entry-level female reporter and an entry-level male reporter. According to the Equal Pay Act, both reporters should be paid the same amount if they are working at the same company.

Fair Housing Act / Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968

This law makes it illegal for property owners to discriminate against renting to people based on race, gender, pregnancy status, color, religion, age, familial status, disability, handicap and other similar criteria. The Fair Housing Act is instrumental in keeping the housing market fair, and preventing minorities from having to deal with harsh and unjust treatment when they are trying to rent a property.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

This law prevents employers from discriminating against people due to their national origin or citizenship. This law is applicable for all areas of employment: firing, hiring, benefits administering, vacation allotment, etc. The Act is instrumental in making sure that minorities and immigrants have a level playing field for employment.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from discriminating against women due to being pregnant, going through childbirth or having a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Under this law, it is also illegal to retaliate against a person due to the fact that he or she filed a discrimination complaint. So, for example, it would be illegal for a boss to reduce a woman’s wages because she complained about getting fewer hours while she is pregnant, which she viewed as discrimination.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964)

This law forbids employers from discriminating in employment. This includes discrimination based on gender, race, religion, national origin and color. Title VII makes it illegal for employers treat people from such groups unfairly in the hiring process, job assignments, firing, benefits administering, etc.


Discrimination is a very unfortunate crime that still goes on in America today. Part of the reason why discrimination is such a scourge on society is because it often leaves groups who already face difficulty – such as minorities or disabled people – with even harder challenges to being employed, finding housing, receiving loans, etc.

The seven laws listed above are extremely important for protecting people from various forms of discrimination, but they are by no means the only anti-discrimination laws that are in place to safeguard your rights.

If you believe that you're being discriminated against, or that someone is violating anti-discrimination laws, then you can file a lawsuit against the party. The legal system can help to serve justice to the party if they are found to truly be in violation of anti-discrimination laws.