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Employee Rights, Equal Opportunity Employment


Section 201 of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) requires that all personnel actions – such as hiring, discharge, promotion, pay, or benefits – must be free from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The law forbids discrimination based on these characteristics even if other factors also motivate the action.

Proving motivation depends on the facts of a particular case. For example, a covered employee must not only prove that he or she was treated differently from others in similar circumstances, but must also show that race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was a motivating factor in that treatment.

The law also forbids certain employment practices that, while they may appear neutral in practice, in fact, cause a "disparate impact" on an employee on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The practice may be lawful only if the employing office proves that the practice is job-related for the position in question and is consistent with business necessity.

Section 201 of the CAA also prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and discrimination because of pregnancy or childbirth. In addition, the law requires that an employing office must reasonably accommodate an applicant or employee’s religious observances and practices so long as doing so will not create an undue hardship on the conduct of business.


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