Federal anti-discrimination statutes have their genesis in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That act made it illegal to discriminate in hiring or any other aspect of wages, hours and working conditions, because of an employee’s race, gender, religion or national origin. Since that time, Congress has engrafted a number of other anti-discriminatory statutes into, onto and around the 1964 "motherlode". These include discrimination because of age, pregnancy, polygraph, restrictions, and some other minor areas. The federal courts have added to gender discrimination by including discrimination because of sexual harassment. Congress then added discrimination because of disabilities in the 1992 Americans With Disabilities Act.
Basic enforcement of most of these laws come through the federal agency known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC has grown over the years and has developed regulations for different statutes, as well as a number of EEOC decisions, opinions and advisory memos dealing with these employment issues.