• Legal system, currency, language

    Constitutional. The official currency is the Kwanza (AOA). The official language is Portuguese.

  • Corporate presence requirements & payroll set-up

    A foreign entity may engage employees in Angola with proper payroll registrations, subject to business, corporate and tax considerations. The employer is responsible for withholding from an employee's pay, and delivering to the tax authority, income tax and contributions to Angolan social security. The level of income tax is defined by the government and varies in line with the employee's salary.

  • Pre-hire checks


    Immigration compliance and pre-hire medical examinations.


    Reference and education checks are permissible.

  • Immigration

    Criminal and medical checks must be issued by competent authorities, a criminal record must be issued by the home country and a medical certificate must be issued by a doctor in the employee’s home country.

    The visa/work permit requirements for overseas nationals to work in Angola are having a recognized travel document valid for the Angolan territory for at least 6 months, being of legal age, not being included in the national list of undesirable persons prohibited from entering into the national territory, not constituting a danger to public order or to social security interests, complying with all health regulations established by the Ministry of Health for entry into the national territory, having an employment contract or promissory employment contract, having a certificate of professional and educational qualifications and curriculum vitae, and obtaining a positive opinion of the competent Ministry.

  • Hiring options


    Indefinite-term contract (which is the rule), fixed-term or open-term (ie, a term contract whose termination date has not yet been defined, but that will be terminated as soon as the underlying need for contracting is no longer verified – for example, as a contract to cover absence), part-time contract, telework contract and contract under service commission regime – a particular type of contract for high-level employees which provides flexibility for termination and is not common. The parties may execute an employment contract for a fixed term or open term, which must be done in writing.  Part-time, fixed-term and open-term employees may not be discriminated against due to their status.

    Independent contractor

    Independent contractors may be engaged directly by the company or via a personal services company. Engagement may be subject to misclassification exposure. The factors that tend to indicate an individual is an employee (rather than, for example, a self-employed independent contractor) are the existence of a work schedule, the scheduling of vacation, the worker’s legal subordination to the company, the company’s authority, direction and disciplinary powers, control of punctuality and attendance over the individual, integration into the structure of the company and use of work tools belonging to the company, among others.

    In the event of misclassification, the relationship may be converted into an employment relationship on a permanent basis, and the employer may be liable to pay a fine for non-compliance.

    Agency worker

    Agency workers may only be engaged to fulfill a temporary need for work. The agency work contract duration depends on the underlying reason for hiring and does not typically exceed 24 months. Agency workers have the right to equal treatment to employees in relation to pay and other regular benefits.

  • Employment contracts & policies

    Employment contracts

    Written employment contracts are common but not mandatory, except for fixed-term, part-time, telework and service commission regime contracts as well as contracts with foreign employees and underage employees. Employment contracts cannot contain conditions that are less favorable to employees than mandatory employment legislation.

    Probationary periods


    Employment contracts for an unlimited period of time may be subject to a probation period corresponding to the first 60 days of performance of work; the parties may, by written agreement, reduce or waive this period.

    The parties may extend the probation period, in writing, to up to 4 months in case of employees who perform highly technical, complex work that is difficult to evaluate, and to up to 6 months in case of employees who perform management duties.

    In an employment contract for a limited period of time, the parties may set forth a probation period in writing, and its duration cannot exceed 15 days in case of non-qualified employees, or 30 days in case of qualified employees. Angolan law does not define qualified and non-qualified, but the common practice is that qualified employees correspond to positions that involve technical complexity, a high degree of responsibility or special qualifications as well as those carrying out functions of trust.


    Employers with more than 50 employees must, in order to organize the work and labor discipline, draft and approve employee handbooks, guidelines, instructions, service orders and work rules defining rules for the technical organization of work, performance of work and work discipline, delegation of powers, employee job descriptions, safety, hygiene and health protection of work, performance indicators, a remuneration system, working hours for the several sections of the company or work center, control of entrances and exits and circulation within the premises of the company, and surveillance and control of production.

    Employers with 50 or fewer employees may, but are not required to, implement employee handbooks on the matters described above.

    Third-party approval

    Whenever the employee’s handbook or any other rules and regulations establish rules on performance and discipline, remuneration systems, work performance or safety, hygiene and health protection at work, the employer must forward such regulations for information and registration purposes to the General Labor Inspectorate.

  • Language requirements

    Portuguese. Nevertheless, employment contracts and other documents may be drafted in a bilingual template.

  • Working time, time off work & minimum wage

    Employees entitled to minimum employment rights

    All employees are entitled to minimum employment rights.

    Working hours

    Maximum daily and weekly working hours are 8 hours per day and 44 hours per week. Overtime pay is required for hours worked in excess of these limits. These limits are inapplicable to employees who perform direction and leadership duties, duties of inspection, or provide direct support to the employer (ie, employees who may be exempt from a work schedule). In case the employee usually performs their work outside the company's premises, an exemption regime may also be agreed upon by the parties, in which case those limits shall not apply. Typically, employees under the exemption regime are entitled to an exemption bonus.


    Overtime may occur with an extraordinary increase in workload, to prevent serious damage or if due to majeure force. It is subject to the following maximum limits: (a) 2 hours per day, (b) 40 hours per month and (c) 200 hours per year.

    Overtime must be compensated with additional payment (ie, an increase of hourly rates) up to 30 hours per month: 50 percent, 30 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company dependent on number of employees and turnover. A company which is a subsidiary or branch of a company with headquarters abroad always qualifies as a large company. Overtime that exceeds that limit is paid for each hour at an additional 75 percent, 45 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company.


    The minimum wage is established by Presidential Decree. It is set out as a general minimum wage, but there is also a minimum wage for trade and extractive industry groups, transport services and manufacturing groups and agriculture groups. Under the Decree currently in force, the general minimum wage is AOA32,181.15. The following sector-specific minimum wages also apply:

    • Trade and extractive industry groups: AOA48,271.73
    • Transport services and manufacturing groups: AOA40,226.44 and
    • Agriculture groups: AOA32,181.15.


    Minimum 22 working days per year, plus 12 public national holidays.

    Sick leave & pay

    Employees are entitled to take off as much time as they need for sick leave. For large and medium companies: In case of incapacity to work due to illness or common accident, pay is required in the amount corresponding to 100 percent of the base salary for a period of 2 months. For as long as the employee is not entitled to protection in case of illness or common accident from the social security authorities, the employer must pay to the employee 50 percent of salary from the 3rd to the 12th month.

    In case of small and micro companies: The employee is paid, in case of illness or common accident, the amount of 50 percent of the base salary within 90 days, after which the contract is terminated by expiration if the condition of illness remains.

    Maternity/parental leave & pay

    A pregnant employee is entitled to a paid maternity leave of 3 months. The amount of the maternity allowance is equal to the average of the 2 best monthly salaries from the 6 months preceding the commencement of the maternity leave. The maternity allowance is paid directly by the employer to the employee and, subsequently, the Social Security services reimburse the employer in full. Fathers are not entitled to any leave on the birth of a child; it is only considered as a justifiable reason for absence from work for 1 day.

    Other leave/time off work

    Employees may also be entitled to leave for other purposes, such as for their wedding; fulfillment of legal or military obligations which must be performed within the normal working period; attendance to tests by working students; attendance of training, professional proficiency, professional qualification or job conversion courses authorized by the employer; participation in cultural or sporting activities, either in representation of the country or the company or in official contests; the performance of necessary and urgent action in the exercise of leading tasks in labor unions as a union representative or as a member of the employee’s representative body; or the  participation of the employee as a candidate to general or municipal elections approved by the competent authority.

  • Discrimination & harassment

    Discrimination based on the following protected characteristics is prohibited: race, color, gender, ethnic origin, marital status, origin or social rank, religious beliefs, political opinion, union affiliation and language.

  • Whistleblowing

    There is no special provision in this regard in Angola. Protection is only granted in the course of criminal action at the request of a whistleblower or by decision of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

  • Benefits & pensions

    Both employer and employee must pay contributions to social security in Angola to cover various employee benefits (eg, maternity leave payment and retirement pension). The employer must withhold the contribution due by the employee and deliver both contributions (ie, employer and employee) to social security every month.

    Current general rates are 3 percent of the gross wage for the employee and 8 percent for the employer.

    Employees with a minimum contributory period (ie, 35 years) qualify for a retirement pension at age 60 or in cases of total incapacity.

    Employers have no legal obligation to provide complementary or supplementary social benefits in addition to the social coverage provided for by the social public scheme. However, some companies – mostly large companies or multinational companies who have their own schemes worldwide – set up and provide private complementary health and pension schemes to their employees.

  • Data privacy

    The Data Privacy Law No. 22/11, June 17 governs Angolan data privacy and determines, in general terms, how to collect, use, disclose, store and give access to "personal information."

    There is no specific regulation on employee data privacy.

  • Rules in transactions/business transfers

    Provided that the same business activity is maintained, the new employer takes the position of the former employer in the employment contracts and takes their position in respect of the rights and obligations arising from the employment relationships. This is the case even if the employment contract is terminated before the transfer. The new employer takes their position as the employer of such former employees in respect of due and non-paid credits. All credits, rights and obligations of the employer arising from the execution and implementation of the employment contract, its violation or termination are subject to a statute of limitations of 1 year starting on the day following the day of termination of the contract. Employees keep the same seniority and acquired rights which they had in the service of their former employer.

    The new employer undertakes the obligations of the former employer limited to those incurred during the 12 months prior to the modification, provided that, up to 22 business days prior to the modification, the new employer gives notice to the employees that they must claim their credits up to the 2nd business day prior to the date scheduled for such modification. Within 22 business days following the modification of employer, the employees have the right to terminate the employment contract with prior notice, but this does not confer any right to compensation.

  • Employee representation

    Employee representative bodies are permissible but not mandatory.

    Trade unions are not common in Angola.

    In order to carry out their duties, trade union representatives are entitled to 4 paid hours a month but must notify the employer in advance of the date and number of days they require for the exercise of trade union functions. Employers are obliged to provide a suitable place for workers' meetings whenever this is requested by the union representatives. Special protections against dismissal are granted to employees who perform, or have performed, duties as union representatives, either as leaders or delegates, or members of the employees’ representative body performing union-related activities.

  • Termination


    Unilateral termination by the employer: dismissal based on objective grounds (ie, redundancy reasons); disciplinary dismissal with just cause (ie, based on serious breach of the employee's duties).

    Termination without cause (with notice): only for employees hired under an employment contract of service commission regime (a particular type of contract for high-level employees which provides flexibility for termination but is not common).

    Other termination causes: mutual agreement, termination by the employee (ie, termination with notice or constructive dismissal with just cause), expiration (ie, fixed-term and open-term contracts or retirement).

    Employees subject to termination laws

    All employees.

    Restricted or prohibited terminations

    Special protection against dismissal is granted to employees who perform, or have performed, duties as union representatives, either as leaders or delegates, or members of the employees’ representative body performing activities; women covered by the regime of maternity protection; war veterans as per the definition provided by the applicable law; employees under the legal age; employees with a reduced work capacity or with a disability degree equal or higher than 20 percent.

    As a general rule, a copy of the notice served on the employee must be forwarded to General Labor Inspectorate.

    Third-party approval for termination/termination documents

    Except in respect of protected employees, third-party approval is not required to terminate an employment.

    Mass layoff rules

    If economic, technological or structural circumstances occur, which may be clearly demonstrated and which involve an internal reorganization or conversion, or the reduction or the shutting down of activities, which makes it necessary to eliminate or significantly change job positions, the employer may terminate the employment contracts of the employees who perform such job positions.

    Collective dismissal rules are triggered if the dismissal involves at least 20 employees.

    Information to the General Labour Inspectorate is required. However, there is no need to obtain approval for termination.

    The General Labor Inspectorate may undertake the diligence deemed necessary for clarification of the situation and, in case of a collective dismissal, during the period in which the evaluation of the General Labor Inspectorate occurs, the employer may promote a meeting with the representative body or with the committee appointed for the purpose of exchange of information and clarification and may forward the conclusions of the meetings to the General Labor Inspectorate.


    For individual dismissals based on objective grounds (up to 20 employees): the employer must forward, at least 30 days in advance, prior notice of dismissal to the employee or employees who occupy the job positions to be extinguished or transformed.

    For collective dismissal: the prior notice is 60 days.

    Notice periods in case of term contract: 15 business days if its duration is equal to or higher than 3 months.

    Statutory right to pay in lieu of notice or garden leave

    Payment in lieu of notice is permitted (and required if the notice period is not honored).

    Garden leave is allowed during the notice period.


    Fair dismissal based on objective grounds (redundancy/collective dismissal):

    • Large companies: compensation corresponds to 1 base salary for each year of effective service up to the limit of 5 and an additional 50 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service that exceed such limit
    • Medium companies: compensation corresponds to 1 base salary for each year of effective service up to the limit of 3 and an additional 40 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed such limit
    • Small companies: compensation corresponds to 2 base salary and an additional 30 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed the limit of 2 years
    • Micro companies: compensation corresponds to 2 base salary and an additional 20 percent of the base salary multiplied by the number of years of service which exceed the limit of 2 years


      Fair disciplinary dismissal: no severance.

      Higher severance payments may be agreed and are usual as a way to avoid litigation.

  • Post-termination restraints

    A clause of the employment contract which restricts the activity of the employee for a period of time, which may not exceed 3 years from the termination of the contract, is lawful if the following conditions are met: (a) such clause is included, in writing, in the employment contract, or in its addendum; (b) the activity performed may cause real damage to the employer and may be considered as unfair competition; (c) the employee is paid a salary during the period of restriction of work: the corresponding amount will be included in the contract or its addendum, and it must be taken into account, in its calculation, the fact that the employer may have incurred in significant expenses in the professional training of the employee.

    A clause which requires an employee who benefits from professional improvement or higher level education at the expense of the employer to remain at the service of the same employer for a certain period of time, provided that such period does not exceed 1 year, in case of training of professional improvement and up to 3 years in case of courses of high level education, is also lawful if established in writing. In this case, the employee may release themselves from remaining at the employer’s service by repaying to the employer the amount of the expenses incurred by the employer, in proportion to the remaining time until the term of the agreed period. The employer that hires the employee within the period of restriction of activity in the company is jointly liable for the damages caused by the employee or for the amount not returned by the employee.

  • Waivers

    In principle, statutory rights cannot be waived and any waiver of such rights will be null and void.

  • Remedies


    Fine corresponding to 5 to 10 times the average salary paid by the company.

    Unfair Dismissal

    The employee may challenge the validity of the dismissal before the labor courts.

    If the relevant court declares the dismissal to be unlawful, by final judgment, the employer must immediately re-instate the employee in the same job position and benefiting from the same previous conditions, or, alternatively, shall indemnify the employee (compensation is different depending on whether it is a large, medium, small or micro company and the cause of dismissal).

    In addition to re-instatement or the compensation, the employee is entitled to the base salaries they would have received if they had continued to perform work, until the date on which the employee finds a new job or up to the date of final judgment, whichever comes first, with a maximum limit of 6 months of base salary for large companies, 4 months to medium companies and 2 months for small and micro companies.

    Failure to inform and consult

    Not applicable.

  • Criminal sanctions

    Typically, non-compliance with employment laws leads to administrative proceedings which may lead to the payment of fines. If such non-compliance is based on violation of rights that deserve protection under criminal law, it may also lead to this type of judicial proceedings.

  • Key contacts
    João Guedes
    João Guedes
    Partner DLA Piper [email protected] View bio
    Daniela Rosa
    Daniela Rosa
    Senior Associate DLA Piper [email protected] View bio
    Islândia Ribeiro
    Islândia Ribeiro
    Senior Associate DLA Piper Africa [email protected] T +244 923 612 525 View bio

Discrimination & harassment


Discrimination based on the following protected characteristics is prohibited: race, color, gender, ethnic origin, marital status, origin or social rank, religious beliefs, political opinion, union affiliation and language.


The law prohibits discriminatory acts or omissions based on race, religion, nationality, ideology, political or trade union opinion, sex, age, economic position, social condition or physical characteristics.

In addition, Argentina has ratified international antidiscrimination conventions, such as the Convention of Belem do Pará and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.


The characteristics protected under equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation in the various states and territories of Australia, as well as under federal legislation, vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The protected characteristics common to all jurisdictions are race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital or relationship status, family or carer's responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, social origin, gender identity, intersex status or trade union membership.


Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. 


The Labor Law prohibits discrimination between workers and in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, ethnic origin, language, religion or belief. Further, dismissals on the basis of sex, color, religion, belief, social status, family responsibilities, a female worker's pregnancy, childbirth or nursing an infant shall be deemed automatically unfair.


Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, gender, marital status, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, political conviction, physical or genetic characteristics, language, health and affiliation to trade union.


Characteristics protected by statute from unlawful discrimination are gender, origin, race, color, marital status, family situation, age, pregnancy, religion and disability. Case law has also protected individuals of various sexual orientations and gender identities as well as individuals with severe illnesses from discriminatory termination.


All Canadian jurisdictions have legislation which prohibits harassment and discrimination based on a number of grounds. Protected grounds vary by jurisdiction, but generally include race, religion, age, disability, sex, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, record of (criminal) offenses, marital status and family status. Employees who suffer harassment or discrimination may have a civil cause of action and/or access to a specialized tribunal or commission.


Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination include race, color, sex, maternity, breastfeeding, age, marital status, union membership, religion, political opinion, citizenship, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, beliefs, participation in professional trade associations, sexual orientation, gender identity, family situation, personal appearance, illness, disability and social origin.


Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment include communicable disease status, disability, migrant worker status, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion or belief and sex.

The Civil Code sets out a clear definition of sexual harassment. This includes widening the scope to protect female employees, requiring employers to provide an internal mechanism for employees to lodge complaints, providing a mechanism for employees to lodge complaints with relevant government agencies and requiring employers to take reasonable efforts to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

The amendment to the Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests (the Revised Women Protection Law) came into effect on January 1, 2023 and employers have since faced new obligations relating to the prevention of discrimination and harassment, as well as the investigation and handling of relevant complaints. The Revised Women Protection Law requires employers to incorporate provisions on the protection of rights and interests of female employees in their individual employment contracts, policies and collective contracts (if applicable).


Employers may not discriminate against employees or job candidates on the basis of age, ethnic origin/race, gender, citizenship, disability, health conditions, religion, opinions, sexual orientation, marital status, union membership, or any other criteria.

Czech Republic

Direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment, victimization, incitement of discrimination and instruction to discriminate are prohibited. Employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for persons with disabilities.

Protected characteristics include race, ethnic origin, nationality, sex (including pregnancy, maternity, paternity and sexual identification), sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, belief and worldviews.


Danish legislation prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination, and victimization and harassment, on various grounds, including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity/paternity, race, nationality, religion or belief, and sex or sexual orientation.

Employers may take positive action in the form of differential treatment if an employee with a disability is employed. In that case, the employer is obliged to take adequate measures to address the person's disadvantage in  order for the person to overcome that disadvantage and function on an equal basis with other employees.


All employees have the right to equal treatment. Employers must not discriminate on the basis of gender, descent, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion, age, health, disability, political activity, trade union activity or related reasons. The provisions are set out in the Equality Act and the Non-Discrimination Act. All employees, including applicants, are protected against discrimination.


Protected characteristics include origin; sex; customs; sexual orientation; age; family situation; pregnancy; genetic characteristics; affiliation or non-affiliation, whether actual or assumed, to an ethnic group, a nation or a (perceived) race; political opinions; activities linked to a union or a mutual benefit company; religious beliefs; physical appearance; family name; health; disability and loss of independence; ability to speak another language than French; place of residence and location or domicile of bank account; and vulnerability resulting from an obvious or known economic situation.


Statutory protection exists against unlawful discrimination and harassment based on race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Hong Kong, SAR

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and victimization include sex, pregnancy, breastfeeding, marital status, family status (ie, responsibility for the care of an immediate family member), disability, race and union affiliation. Characteristics protected from unlawful harassment include sex, pregnancy, breastfeeding, disability and race.


Direct and indirect discrimination, victimization, unlawful segregation and harassment are prohibited.

Employers are forbidden from discriminating against employees on grounds of sex, race, color, nationality, national or ethnic origin, mother tongue, disability, health status, religion or belief, political or other opinion, marital status, sexual orientation, age or any other circumstances which are not connected to work.

The principle of equal treatment is not violated if the differences applied are based on a difference in the nature, the quality or the quantity of the work, a difference in working conditions, required training, experience or responsibility or based on differences in the labor market conditions.


The right to equality is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution, and state institutions are expressly prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex, caste, religion, race and place of birth. Various protections are applicable to individuals in the private sector, including disabled persons, female job applicants, HIV positive persons (or those who live with or have lived with a person who is HIV positive), transgender persons and workmen.

The ERA governs equal remuneration and service conditions for males and females for the same work or work of a similar nature and requires the employer to maintain certain registers with wage information.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (SH Act) protects and provides a means of redress for women who suffer from sexual harassment at work. The SH Act has wide application because its definition of 'workplace' covers both public and private establishments and regular, ad-hoc or temporary employees, either employed directly or through an agent. The SH Act requires all offices, hospitals, institutions and other workplaces to have an internal mechanism for addressing complaints related to sexual harassment, including providing for settlement by way of conciliation. The employer must have an internal complaints committee (IC) to investigate complaints, hold an inquiry and submit a report. The District Officer may establish a local complaints committee for establishments that do not have internal complaints committees due to employing less than 10 workers, or when the complaint is against the employer. Employers with 10 or more employees are also required to formulate an internal policy for the prohibition, prevention and redressal of sexual harassment in the workplace and to provide awareness and conduct training programs for IC members. The IC must submit an annual report in each calendar year to the relevant District Officer.

The employer is also prohibited from committing any unfair trade practices listed in the ID Act, including discriminating against workmen.

The RPWD Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s disability, unless proportionate to achieve a legitimate aim. Under the RPWD Act, an employer must ensure that a person is not denied a promotion merely on the ground of their disability. It also requires all employers to notify and publish an equal opportunity policy with details of facilities and amenities provided to persons with disabilities to enable them to effectively discharge their duties in the establishment.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 (HIV Act) prohibits discrimination against a person who is HIV-positive or a person who lives with or has lived with a person who is HIV-positive in matters related to employment, including denial of or termination of employment.

The TPR Act prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment and promotion. Further, the TPR Act requires every establishment to designate a person to be a complaint officer to handle complaints in relation to the TPR Act.


Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination include sex, ethnicity, race, religion and political orientation.

In May 2023, the Ministry of Manpower issued Decree No. 88 of 2023 on Guidelines on the Prevention and Handling of Workplace Sexual Harassment. The Decree introduced, among other things, new requirements such as the establishment of a sexual harassment prevention task force by companies, guidelines to handle sexual harassment cases in the workplace and sanctions (up to termination) against the perpetrators. These sanctions do not eliminate the right of employees who wish to take action against sexual harassment in the workplace by filing a lawsuit on the basis of the civil tort law or reporting the perpetrator to the police.


Direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimization and harassment are prohibited. Employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for persons with disabilities.

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment include gender, age, race/nationality, religion, family status, civil status, disability, sexual orientation and/or membership of the Traveller community.


Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race, religious belief, nationality, country of origin, place of residency, opinion, political party, participation in military service (including military reserve duty), and matrimonial and parental status.


Employees are protected against direct and indirect discrimination during the course of their employment on several grounds, such as sex, religion, race, color and political opinion. Discrimination is always prohibited, from the hiring procedure to the termination of employment.


Japan's labor law recognizes the principle of equal treatment of employees. Discriminatory treatment with respect to wages, working hours or other working conditions by reason of nationality, creed or social status is prohibited.

This includes a prohibition against discrimination with respect to dismissal, fringe benefits, pay and all other aspects of the working relationship between employer and employee.

For instance, the Law Respecting the Guarantee of Equal Opportunity and Treatment Between Men and Women in Employment prohibits discrimination regarding gender in recruitment, hiring and employment in Japan.


Direct and indirect discrimination prohibited, along with victimization and harassment. It is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, color, tribe, sex, language, religion, political opinion or affiliation, nationality, social origin, marital status, pregnancy, HIV status or disability.


Disability discrimination. A person with special needs is defined under the Kuwaiti Handicapped Law as "any person suffering from total or partial deficiency or disorder; permanently or temporarily in his physical, sensory, mental, communicative, educational or psychological abilities to an extent reducing the possibility of meeting his normal requirements."

Only Kuwaiti nationals with special needs have the right to work and occupy positions.

Flexible working hours and suitable equipment in order to perform their work must be provided to these employees, and these employees must not face any discrimination.

There are no other discrimination provisions in the Labor Law, except for a provision stating that a female employee shall have the right to the same salary given to a male employee if she performs the same job.


Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, nationality, racial or ethnic origin and sex is prohibited with regard to access to employment, access to all types and levels of vocational guidance, employment and working conditions, and membership of and involvement in an organization of workers or employers.


There is no statutory protection against discrimination. However, the EA gives the Director General the power to “inquire into and decide any dispute between an employee and his employer in respect of any matter relating to discrimination in employment [and] make an order”. Non-compliance by an employer with such an order would be an offense.


Employers may not discriminate against employees or job candidates on the basis of age, ethnic origin, race, sex, citizenship, disabilities, health conditions, religion, opinions, sexual orientation, marital status or any other criteria.


Discrimination based on race, skin color, gender, religion, political opinions, social origin or union freedom is forbidden by article 9 of the Labor Code.

Discrimination between men and women regarding wages is specifically prohibited by article 346 of the Labor Code.


All employees are guaranteed equal rights at work, regardless of their ethnic origin, language, race, gender, marital status, age (within the limits set by law), social condition, religious and political ideas and membership or non-membership in a union.

Measures that benefit certain disadvantaged groups – namely, measures based on gender, impaired work capacity, disability or chronic disease – taken for the purpose of guaranteeing the exercise of the rights set forth in this law on an equal footing, and to correct a persistent factual situation of inequality in social life, shall not be considered discriminatory.

Female employees shall be respected and any act performed in violation of their dignity shall be punished by law. Employees who commit acts which violate the dignity of a female employee shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings. Employers are forbidden from dismissing, imposing sanctions or otherwise causing prejudice to a female employee on the basis of allegations of discrimination or exclusion.

Harassment, including sexual harassment, whether committed in or outside of the workplace, which interferes with the security of employment or with the professional progress of the employee, constitutes a disciplinary offense.

Employers shall promote measures that allow employees with disabilities to enjoy the same rights and have the same responsibilities as other employees. Instruments of collective labor regulation may establish special measures to protect disabled employees. There are no specific regulations on this matter, but, as a matter of practice, employers may, for instance, refurbish the workplace entrance to allow easy access for employees in wheelchairs.

Employees with HIV-AIDS may not be discriminated against.


The employer shall not discriminate or fail to honor employment rights equally on the grounds of the employee being a member of a labor organization, nationality, religion, race, sex and age.

Employees are entitled to the prescribed minimum wage without discrimination on the basis of gender.


Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

New Zealand

Employees are protected from discrimination and harassment under both the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993. Protected characteristics are age (from 16 years), color, disability, employment status, family status, marital status, political opinion, race, ethnic or national origins, religious or ethical belief, sex, sexual orientation and union involvement. An employer also cannot discriminate against an employee on the basis that the employee is, or is believed to be, an individual who has experienced domestic violence.


The Nigerian Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of gender, religion, age, political affinity, ethnic/tribal group and membership of a trade union and other lawful associations.


Both direct and indirect discrimination is prohibited with regard to all aspects of the employment relationship.

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination: political views, membership of a trade union, sexual orientation, disability, gender, age, ethnic origin, national origin, descent, color, language, religion, ethical and cultural orientation, part-time work and temporary employment.

Employees and applicants with disabilities are entitled to appropriate individual adaption of their workplace and tasks.


There are no specific discrimination laws in Oman, save for 2 provisions in the Labor Law relating to non-discrimination of women employed in similar situations to men and preference for employment of Omani nationals. The Basic Law and Penal Code prohibit abuse or harassment on the grounds of gender, origin, color, language, religion, sect, domicile and social status.


The Peruvian Constitution prohibits discrimination based on racial, sexual, political or religious grounds, or age or physical disability, among others.

The labor law forbids discrimination in recruitment. Recently, it has been legally prohibited that companies exclude a candidate based on the candidate's credit report, nor obtain such credit report without the candidate’s consent.

Companies cannot dismiss based on discriminatory reasons. In such case, the dismissal is considered null, and the employee can sue for re-instatement.

During the employment relationship, if the company carries out discriminatory acts, this may be considered to be “hostility” against the employee. If the company continues with such discrimination, the employee may claim constructive dismissal due to discrimination.

Local law also prohibits salary discrimination between men and women.


Against women

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of her sex. (Labor Code of the Philippines, Art. 135)

The Labor Code of the Philippines likewise considers it unlawful for an employer to require, as a condition for or continuation of employment, a woman employee to not get married or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that, upon marriage, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated. (Labor Code of the Philippines, Art. 136)

Sexual harassment is also prohibited. (Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995)

Against persons with disability

No persons with disabilities shall be denied access to opportunities for suitable employment. A qualified employee with disabilities shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment and the same compensation, privileges, benefits, fringe benefits, incentives or allowances as a qualified able-bodied person. (Republic Act No. 2010911)

Based on age

It is unlawful for an employer to do any of the following:

  • Print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, in any form of media, any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination based on age
  • Require the declaration of age or birthdate during the application process
  • Decline any employment application because of the individual's age
  • Discriminate against an individual in terms of compensation, terms and conditions or privileges of employment on account of age
  • Deny promotion or opportunity for training because of age
  • Forcibly lay off an employee or worker because of old age
  • Impose early retirement on the basis of age (Section 5 (a) of Republic Act No. 10911)


Polish law expressly prohibits any kind of discrimination or harassment, guarantees basic equality in the workplace, and protects the health and dignity of employees. Provisions of employment contracts that infringe upon the principle of equal treatment are null and void, and the statutory provisions apply instead. Where there are no appropriate regulations, the infringing provisions should be replaced with appropriate provisions.

Polish law prohibits various types of discrimination and harassment, including direct and indirect discrimination; unfair treatment of an employee by an employer because of a particular action the employee has taken (eg, submitting a sexual harassment grievance); sexual harassment; harassment in the form of any unwanted conduct, the purpose or effect of which is to violate a person's dignity, particularly by the creation of an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive atmosphere at work; and bullying.

An anti-retaliatory provision applies to employees who exercise their rights when an employer infringes the principle of equal treatment in employment or to employees who have in any way supported another employee in exercising his or her rights where an employer has infringed the principle of equal treatment.

Polish law also guarantees the right to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value. However, there is no system of obligatory monitoring of pay levels (eg, for men and women).


Characteristics protected: ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status, family status, economic status, education, social origin or status, genetic heritage, reduced working capacity, disability, chronic disease, nationality, ethnic origin or race, territory origin, language, religion, political or ideological beliefs, union membership and maternity.

Portugal also has specific pay-equity legislation.

Companies employing 75 or more employees, both in the private and public sectors, are required to hire employees with a degree of disability of 60 percent or more, in order to ensure minimum quotas – between 1 percent to 2 percent depending on the company’s headcount.


There are no standalone discrimination laws in Qatar except for provisions which state that a woman must be paid the same as a man if she performs the same work and must be provided with the same opportunities with regards to training and promotion. The topic of discrimination is however addressed in Qatar's Constitution which prohibits discrimination on numerous grounds. Qatar is a signatory to (and ratified) a number of international conventions relating to human rights and discrimination. Qatar has also set up a number of human rights committees that in turn ultimately ensure that individuals are treated fairly and on equal footing and are not discriminated against.


Direct and indirect discrimination is prohibited, along with victimization and harassment, including sexual harassment, psychological harassment and moral harassment. Employers have an obligation to include provisions prohibiting discrimination in their internal regulations, as well as corresponding disciplinary sanctions.

The main characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment include race, nationality, ethnic background, language, religion, social category, beliefs, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation, among others.


Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment include age, place of residence, disability, gender reassignment, family status, wealth, occupation, pregnancy or maternity, race, nationality, language, origin, religion or belief, gender and sexual orientation, among others.

Saudi Arabia

Generally, there may be no discrimination in terms and conditions of employment (eg, as to leaves or EOSG). However, aside from the new rules below, there are few specific anti-discrimination or harassment laws. Some of the terms of the Labor Law are specific to expatriates. Provisions concerning foreign recruitment, repatriation and related matters do not apply to Saudi nationals. There are also some specific rules for female employees.

In June 2018, new anti-harassment laws took effect and provide that each private or public sector employer is required to take appropriate measures to prevent harassment in the workplace. This requires employers to follow certain procedures as stated in the law (ie, to have clear guidance and processes related to harassment complaints, and to have disciplinary procedures for harassment complaints, to confirm their validity and ensure their confidentiality).

Further, employers are required to investigate any breaches of their anti-harassment policies and the anti-harassment law, and they must not interfere with the affected employee's right to raise a complaint to the authorities regarding harassment. While the law is silent on how to publish these procedures and policies, employers must ensure their employees are aware of the relevant information.


Singapore does not currently have any legislation which expressly prohibits workplace discrimination. While the Constitution provides that all persons are entitled to the equal protection of the law and that there shall be no discrimination based on religion, race, descent or place of birth, successful challenges on constitutional grounds are rare.

On August 4, 2023, the MOM announced that the Singapore Government has accepted the recommendations in the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness Final Report, which are slated to be implemented in 2024. The proposed Workplace Fairness Legislation (WFL) will, when passed, represent Singapore’s first legislative framework for workplace discrimination, and be a significant milestone in Singapore employment law as it accords substantially greater protection to employees. The WFL will complement and not replace the existing Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP), which will continue to provide overarching principles of workplace fairness for employers. However, the WFL will for the first time give employees a direct legal remedy beyond a wrongful dismissal claim against employers for discriminatory practices. Crucially, discrimination will be statutorily defined as making an adverse employment decision because of any of the following protected characteristics: (i) age, (ii) nationality, (iii) sex, marital status, pregnancy status (including breastfeeding and women who express a desire to bear children), caregiving responsibilities, (iv) race, religion, language, and (v) disability and mental health conditions.

The Protection from Harassment Act 2014 (POHA) also protects individuals from acts of harassment both in and outside the workplace (including stalking and cyber-bullying). Certain sections of the Penal Code 1871 also provide for criminal offences that would cover behaviour amounting to harassment.

The main type of employment legislation that deals with the issue of discrimination concerns age discrimination. The Retirement and Re-employment Act 1993 (RRA) applies to all employees and prohibits the dismissal of any employee who is below the current retirement age of 63 on the grounds of age, notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary. Employees have a statutory right to be offered re-employment between the age of 63 (or the age stipulated in the employment contract, if higher) and 68 provided they are a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, have been employed by their current employer for at least 2 years before turning 63 for employees hired at age 55 and above, have satisfactory work performance and are medically fit to continue working. If the employee meets the criteria, the employer must offer the employee re-employment unless it is unable to find a suitable vacancy through redeployment to another part of the business – and in which case the employee has a right to receive an employment assistance payment (see further comments under the Severance section below).

In addition, pregnant employees under the EA may not be dismissed solely for being absent from work in accordance with the maternity leave provisions set out in the EA or in the CDCSA, although this is not characterized as discrimination per se.

The Enlistment Act 1970 (Enlistment Act) generally prohibits employers from dismissing employees solely or mainly by reason of being called up for national service.

The TGFEP, issued by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP), are a set of best practice guidelines that encourage fair treatment of employees. If an individual encounters workplace discrimination in breach of the TGFEP, they may contact TAFEP, which may first engage informally with the employer to assess if the complaint is meritorious. The TAFEP may refer cases to the MOM where the employer is recalcitrant or unresponsive, and the MOM may impose certain administrative sanctions against errant employers (eg, curtailing work pass applications and privileges).

The TAFEP has also introduced the FCF to specifically target discrimination against locals. Under the FCF, employers submitting Employment Pass and S Pass applications must first advertise on MyCareersFuture and fairly consider all candidates unless the candidate qualifies for a relevant exemption. Further, the MOM proactively identifies employers with indications of discriminatory hiring practices and places them on the FCF Watchlist for further scrutiny. The MOM is additionally concerned about employers with an exceptionally high percentage of foreign PMETs compared to industry peers, or high concentrations of single nationalities, as these are indicators of possible discriminatory hiring practices.


Slovak Republic

Direct and indirect unlawful discrimination and harassment is prohibited on grounds of sex, marital status and family status, sexual orientation, race, skin color, language, age, adverse health condition or disability, genetic characteristics, belief, religion, political or other views, trade union activity, national or social origin, nationality or ethnicity, property, gender or any other status or due to the reporting of crime or other antisocial activity (ie, whistleblowers).

South Africa

Direct and indirect unfair discrimination is prohibited in terms of the Employment Equity Act, 1998. No person may be unfairly discriminated against on the basis of any listed ground or other arbitrary ground. The listed grounds are race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth and any other arbitrary ground. Sexual harassment and unequal pay for work of equal value on prohibited grounds are given express protection as forms of unfair discrimination.

Where an employer is a designated employer (ie, employs more than 50 employees or has an annual turnover in excess of the prescribed threshold), they are obliged to put into place affirmative action measures to ensure that suitably qualified people from designated groups (ie, African, Coloured, Indian, women and people with disabilities) have equal employment opportunities and are equitably represented in all occupational levels in the workforce. There are amendments in the pipeline in terms of which a ‘designated employer’ will only be an employer that employs more than 50 employees and the annual turnover threshold will no longer be relevant. This amendment is anticipated to come into effect in about October 2023.

South Korea

The LSA prohibits discrimination against employees on the grounds of sex, nationality, religion or social status. Discrimination is also prohibited under statutes protecting disabled employees, female employees, foreign workers and non-regular workers. Age discrimination is also prohibited.

Employers, managers and employees are prohibited from sexually harassing anybody in the workplace. Whether or not an act or acts constitute sexual harassment is determined based on the complainer’s viewpoint (ie, based on how the average person in the complainer’s position would view the conduct), regardless of the intent or perception of the alleged harasser. It is also prohibited to retaliate against an employee who is the victim or employee who reports workplace harassment.

The “Guidance on Review of Rules of Employment Regarding Workplace Harassment” issued by the MOEL went into effect as of July 16, 2019. As a result, the rules of employment must include the definition of workplace harassment and provisions prohibiting workplace harassment, and failure to do so will result in “amendment orders” from the MOEL.

While the details of workplace harassment are stated in the LSA, as of October 14, 2021, if an employer or certain members of his/her family engages in workplace harassment, an administrative fine not exceeding KRW10 million may be imposed. Moreover, in addition to the employer’s obligation to conduct a prompt investigation and take necessary measures, the law imposes a confidentiality obligation on parties involved in the workplace harassment investigation. Violations of these obligations may result in an administrative fine of up to KRW5 million.

Serious Accident Prevention Act (SAPA)

The SAPA, effective as of January 27, 2022 for businesses with 50 or more employees, works to secure the safety and health of workers in the workplace or general public by holding the top decision maker of the business accountable for “serious accidents.”

The responsibilities of employers and responsible management personnel under the SAPA include establishing a safety and health management system that covers workforce and budgetary issues, implementing necessary plans to prevent recurrence of serious accidents and taking necessary measures to ensure compliance with relevant safety- and health-related laws.


The following characteristics are protected: age, disability, ethnic origin, gender reassignment, gender identity or expression, health condition, marriage or civil status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or identity, political ideas, union membership, family relationships with coworkers, language, socioeconomic status, and any other personal or social condition or circumstance that could cause discrimination.

Discrimination cases are not frequent in Spain, with the exception of trade union-related issues or discrimination based on family-related rights (ie, maternity and paternity). However, on July 13, 2022, the Spanish Official Gazette published Law 15/2022 on equal treatment and non-discrimination (effective from July 14, 2022). The Law, which aims to promote the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination and to respect the equality and dignity of individuals in accordance with the Spanish Constitution, protects against discriminatory dismissals and other causes for termination of the employment contract. New court resolutions declaring unlawful discriminatory terminations null and void are expected.

Royal Decree 901/2020 regulates the way equality plans are to be produced, registered and accessed. All companies, regardless of the number of workers, must adopt, after negotiation, measures aimed at avoiding discrimination between women and men, promoting working conditions that avoid sexual harassment and harassment on the grounds of sex, and providing procedures for the prevention of discrimination and creating channels for complaints and claims.

All companies with 50 or more employees are obliged to implement an Equality Plan. Companies with between 50 and 100 employees have a deadline of March 7, 2022. Companies with over 100 employees must have implemented the Equality Plan by March 7, 2021.

In addition, Royal Decree 902/2020 establishes specific measures to reinforce the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination between women and men in relation to remuneration. This regulation establishes a principle of transparency in remuneration to enable direct and indirect discrimination to be identified. In particular where discrimination arises when individuals do not receive equal pay for work of equal value, unless the difference can be lawfully justified. This will require steps from employers in the following areas: remuneration records, a remuneration audit or a job evaluation system of the professional classification.


The Discrimination Act covers discrimination on the grounds of sex, ethnic origin, religious or other belief, disability, sexual orientation, age and transgender identity or expression. The Discrimination Act contains provisions on active measures, supervision and invalidity of discriminatory provisions in individual and collective bargaining agreements, entitlement to compensation and legal proceedings. The employer is required to take positive action to promote equal rights and opportunities irrespective of any of the protected characteristics.


Gender discrimination is directly prohibited. Other kinds of unjustified discrimination are indirectly prohibited (ie, only if the employee is able to prove that the discrimination has led to a violation of their personality – that is, when they have suffered painfully worse treatment than other employees, without any objective reason).

Taiwan, Republic of China

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment include age, disability, class, thought, facial features, language, gender reassignment, marital status, political party, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. With the recent implementation of the Middle-aged and Elderly Employment Promotion Act, persons aged 45 to 65 and those above 65 are afforded more protection from age discrimination and provided with more employment stability, and the employment of these persons will be promoted, which will create more job opportunities for the middle-aged and elderly. Employers who are found to discriminate on the basis of  age will be fined.


The Thai Constitution prohibits discrimination and the unequal treatment of employees. All persons are equal and shall enjoy equal protection under the law. Unjust discrimination against a person on the grounds of origin, race, language, sex, age, physical or health condition, personal status, economic or social standing, religious belief, education or political views which do not contradict the Thai Constitution, or on other grounds, is not permitted.

The LPA also provides for equality in the workplace for employees and requires an employer to treat male and female employees equally in their employment, unless the nature of the work or working conditions does not allow the employer to do so.

An employer must also set equal wages, overtime pay, holiday pay and holiday overtime pay to be paid to employees whose work is of the same nature and quality and equal quantity or same value, notwithstanding whether the employees are male or female.

The Thai Labor Standards Corporate Social Responsibility of Thai Business, as launched by the Ministry of Labor, specifically prohibits discrimination in employment on grounds of national origin, race, religion, language, age, sex, marital status, personal attitude on gender or sexual orientation, invalidity, HIV/AIDS status, trade union membership, employees' committee membership, political affiliation or other personal opinions.


Article 5bis of the Labor Code prohibits discrimination between men and women in the application of the Code. In 2017, Tunisia also passed a law countering violence against women that includes economic discrimination in the form of violence against women. Tunisia is also a party to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women as well as its optional protocol.

Tunisia has laws that forbid employment discrimination on the basis of disability, provided that the disabled person is qualified for the job and provided that the job does not require specific physical abilities. There are also quotas for hiring disabled persons in the public sector and in large companies. Tunisia is also a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.

Most recently, Tunisia adopted a law countering all forms of racial discrimination.


No discrimination based on language, race, color, sex, disability, political opinion, philosophical opinion, religion or similar reasons, union membership or non-membership, or maternity is permissible. Furthermore, the employer cannot treat part-time and full-time employees differently unless the difference in treatment can be objectively justified by there being a material reason.


Statutory protection against unlawful discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, HIV status or disability.

An employer shall pay male and female employees equal remuneration for work of equal value.


Discrimination based on any ground unrelated to ability to perform job duties is prohibited. Prohibited grounds include, for example, race, ethnic or social origin, political, religious or other beliefs, skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, family and property status, membership in a trade union or other civil group, participation in a strike, language attributes or age.

United Arab Emirates

Since August 2015, legislation has been in force that was primarily designed to combat religious contempt and intolerance. Under the new Labor Law, discrimination is defined as any distinction, restriction, exclusion or preference on the basis of one of the protected characteristics (religion, creed, doctrine, sect, caste, race, color or ethnic origin). This new discrimination law does not remove discriminatory provisions in existing law, such as positive discrimination in favor of national employees, or any advantage, preference or benefit upon women, children, disabled persons, the elderly or others prescribed by any other legislation. Where an employee successfully proves that they have been discriminated against, the employee is not entitled to any compensation personally, but instead their employer may be subject to financial penalties which could range from AED5,000 to AED1 million.

Under the new discrimination legislation, it is important to note that the representative, director or agent of a legal entity may be held vicariously liable for offenses under that law committed by employees of that entity. In order for vicarious liability to arise, the offense must have been committed with the knowledge of the representative/director/agent, and the employee must have been acting in the entity's name or to its interest.

There are also specific anti-discrimination provisions in the DIFC and ADGM.

Under the Labor Law, a woman must be paid the same as a man if she performs the same work.

United Kingdom

Direct and indirect discrimination is prohibited, along with victimization and harassment. Employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for persons with disabilities.

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

United States

Federal law generally protects employees from discrimination, harassment or retaliation based on race, color, religion, sex (including transgender identities and sexual orientation), national origin – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), age (40 and over) – Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), disability – Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and genetic information – Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). State and local protected categories vary and are often broader (eg, creed, marital status, domestic partnership status, military status, domestic violence victim status, arrest record, conviction record, alienage, citizenship status, unemployment status, political beliefs and party affiliation). In recent years, various states and localities enacted new protections related to pregnancy, breastfeeding, disabilities, and physical characteristics historically associated with race (eg, hair texture and hairstyles).

In June 2020, the US Supreme Court held in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII’s ban on employment discrimination based on sex. In the wake of the Court’s decision, states continue to amend discrimination laws to include gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as protected classes.

States and localities continue to take the lead on legislation addressing workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the wake of the #MeToo movement, strengthening protections for women and against sexual and gender harassment. For example, state or local laws may:

  • Adopt a lower standard for proving harassment
  • Mandate sexual harassment training
  • Expand the scope of existing laws to cover smaller employers or non-employees such as interns, independent contractors and freelancers
  • Extend the time for an employee to file an administrative complaint or lawsuit
  • Require reporting of adverse judgments and administrative rulings
  • Limit or prohibit nondisclosure, non-disparagement or no-rehire provisions in certain settlements or employment agreements
  • Allow for voidable “golden parachute” provisions for management employees or
  • Limit or ban the use of mandatory arbitration for certain claims, although some of these laws are being challenged.

In particular, employers are seeing more laws restricting the use of arbitration agreements and non-disclosure agreements for harassment and discrimination claims. The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act took effect in 2022, and President Biden signed the Speak Out Act limiting the enforceability of pre-dispute nondisclosure and nondisparagement clauses for sexual assault and sexual harassment.  Various states, including California, Maine, Oregon and Washington, passed similar laws limiting the use of nondisclosure provisions.

States and localities also continue to enact laws to address equal pay issues. For example, laws may ban salary history inquiries, prohibit retaliation against an employee for discussing wages or compensation with another employee, require pay data reporting or mandate certain job posting and compensation disclosures. In 2022, various states and localities (eg, California, New York City, New York, Washington) adopted salary posting and/or reporting requirements.


Employers must refrain from any distinctions, exclusions, preferences or restrictions in job access and employment based on sex, race, religion, marital status, pregnancy, political beliefs, sexual preferences, social class, union affiliation, physical disability and criminal background.

Different treatment is not considered discriminatory if it is based on an objective and reasonable purpose. The Supreme Court has identified 4 conditions under which differential treatment is not considered discriminatory:

  • It has a specific purpose.
  • It has a reasonable aim (ie, it is compatible with constitutional rights and principles).
  • It has a proportionate effect in relation to the circumstances and the aim achieved.
  • It is applied to all cases of the same kind.

For example, different pay based on seniority, family burdens or qualifications would not constitute discrimination under these criteria.

In addition, there are cases of positive discrimination provided by law – for example, disability quotas and foreign labor quotas.


Any discrimination, exclusion or preference on the grounds of race, color, gender, nationality, social class, ethnicity, age, maternity status, marital status, religion, belief, political belief, HIV status, family responsibility, disability or joining or establishing a trade union or employees' organization at the enterprise is prohibited. Discrimination against outsourced employees is additionally prohibited.