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Age Discrimination
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people 40 or older by making it illegal to use age as a reason to refuse to hire someone or to discharge them. It is also illegal to use age as a basis to discriminate in compensation or other terms of employment. The Act also prevents employers from classifying employees on the basis of age to deprive them of opportunities.

Drug Testing
The federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, 41 U.S.C. 701-707, covers employers with companies with federal contracts worth at least $25,000; individuals with any federal contracts; and businesses or individuals receiving federal grants of any amount. Covered employers have to make a "good faith effort" to have a drug-free workplace. This usually means drug testing, although that's not expressly required by the law.

Employment Agreements
A first issue in bringing on new workers is whether the new person will be an "independent contractor" or an "employee." This issue might seem to be of interest only to lawyers, yet it determines who pays the tax man: you or the new person.

Employment Applications
As an employer, it is important to remember that you are limited in what you can ask (and say) on an employment application. There are some areas to steer clear of, and some which require a bit of caution. To be completely safe, you should treat disabilities, race, and religion as off-limits. Disabilities can be the subject of some inquiry, so long as the questions are directly related to the job, not to the disability. 

Employment Policies and Manuals
Some states have held promises made in employment manuals to be part of a binding contract. For this reason, employment manuals that state that employees will only be fired for a good reason may eventually lead to an employee suing for breach of contract. Some courts have recognized an implied promise not to terminate except for good cause, based on employee manuals or even the oral promises of supervisors.

Avoiding Disability Discrimination
The ADA only protects people who can show that they are "disabled." A person with a disease or disorder will be considered "disabled" if they can prove one of three things. Learn who is protected, what type of protection they are entitled to, exceptions and rules on job testing.

Lie Detectors
Lie detector tests in the workplace are partially regulated by the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, 29 U.S.C. 2001(4), and the rule implementing the Act, Application of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, at 53 Fed. Reg. 41.

Racial Discrimination
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race or national origin. This statute covers employers with 15 or more employees who work 20 or more calendar weeks per year.

Religious Discrimination
Employers have to take into account a persons religious beliefs. There are a number of laws that cover religious discrimination including testing, accommodations and scheduling.

Sex Discrimination and Harassment
Sex discrimination is governed by many of the same principles that address race and national origin discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sex in hiring, promotion, training, termination, and pay. It also makes it illegal to discriminate or harass employees based on sex, pregnancy or child care.

EEOC - National Origin Guide
The Commission defines national origin discrimination broadly as including, but not limited to, the denial of equal employment opportunity because of an individual's, or his or her ancestor's, place of origin; or because an individual has the physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of a national origin group.

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