Prohibited Employment Practices
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What Is Prohibited Within Employment Practices?

| December 7, 2023 | Last Updated on: June 4, 2024

Employment is a place in which you tend to spend half of your life. Due to this, the organization in which you are employed should be a safe place for the hours you tend to spend there.

A variety of practices are not allowed to be occurring within the workplace. So, we have developed an extensive list of practices that are prohibited within the realm of employment. 

What Practices Are Prohibited Within Employment? 

Under the law implemented by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there are a variety of prohibited employment practices that are illegal to be implemented on someone that affects their employment. 

Basic Prohibited Employment Practices

There are basic practices that are prohibited by the laws that are enforced by the EEOC in the United States. 

These prohibited employment practices that are illegal as per EEOC’s laws are as follows:

  1. It is illegal to discriminate against someone (employee or applicant) based on their race. 
  2. It is illegal to discriminate against someone (employee or applicant) based on their color.
  3. It is illegal to discriminate against someone (employee or applicant) based on their sex, which includes pregnancy. 
  4. It is illegal to discriminate against someone (employee or applicant) based on their nationality. 
  5. It is illegal to discriminate against someone (employee or applicant) based on their age (above the age of 40). 
  6. It is illegal to discriminate against someone (employee or applicant) based on their disability. 
  7. It is also illegal to retaliate against an employee who has complained, investigated, or filed a lawsuit about any practice of discrimination that they have faced.

Considering Inappropriate Recommendations

It is forbidden for an agency representative to request or take into account a suggestion based on personal or political influence 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(2).

This PPP prohibits requests for or consideration of recommendations on an applicant or employee unless the recommendation is based on the applicant’s or employee’s own knowledge or the provider’s records. Stated otherwise, this means that unless the individual providing the recommendation truly knows the candidate’s qualifications for the post in issue, any advice to recruit or promote someone in the federal workplace must be disregarded. According to court rulings, the purpose of this PPP’s legislation was to forbid using political influence to win a job or promotion. 


A federal government employee is prohibited from practicing nepotism, which is the practice of promoting or recruiting family members. § 2302(b)(7) of 5 U.S.C .

The legal definition of “relative” in this section includes the following: husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepson, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, and so on.

This PPP only says that federal workers are not allowed to promote or hire their relatives or even encourage them to do so. Keep in mind that nepotism affects work perks and benefits in addition to hiring.

Veterans Preference

If an agency official understands that taking a personnel action will violate a veteran’s preference requirement, they are not allowed to conduct, suggest, or authorize the action U.S.C. § 2302(b)2011.

This PPP guarantees the veterans’ preferences for positions with the federal government. Even while OSC assists in upholding these rights, complaints about veterans’ preferences should not be filed with us. Such allegations have to be submitted to the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) (DOL). 

Coercing Political Activity

An agency representative is not allowed to punish an employee. For declining to participate in politics or forcing them to participate in politics. § 2302(b)(3) of 5 U.S.C .

The purpose of this PPP is to prevent political politics from invading government employment. A supervisor cannot coerce a worker into engaging in political activities. This provision likewise forbids retaliation against an employee for declining to participate in political activities. 

This means the EEOC enforces the law. This has enabled the prohibition of all kinds of discriminatory practices within the field of employment.

What Is The Aim Of The EROC In Employment Practices?

The primary aim of the EEOC is to reduce discriminatory practices by employers. 

Due to this, the EEOC has been noted to encourage and mandate employers to make use of neutral employment policies. And practices to reduce the occurrence of discriminatory practices in the workplace.

There are a variety of areas of employment that are being changed by the EEOC to reduce the occurrence of discrimination in the workplace. 

The areas are as follows that require the stoppage of prohibitory employment practices/policies:

Job Publicity

According to the EEOC, it is illegal for employers to publish job advertisements that give preference to the applicant’s sex, race, age, nationality, and other socio-cultural factors. 

For instance, an employer posting a job advertisement stating it requires a ‘male accountant’ can discourage females from applying for such a job. 


It is also illegal for employers to employ candidates based on their sex, race, age, color, disability, and nationality in the United States. 

For instance, an employer that is solely dependent on the recruitment of white applicants for a particular job role can be considered a prohibitory employment practice. 

Hiring And Application 

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant based on their race, sex, age, nationality, color, religion, or nationality.

For instance, an employer does not have the authority to prohibit giving out employment applications based on an employee’s sex. 

On the other hand, an employer is also prohibited from basing their hiring decisions based on the applicants’ socio-cultural factors. 

For example, an employer not hiring Native Indians due to stereotypes can be considered an illegal act. 

Moreover, if an employer is required to take a test before making the hiring decision, then EEOC states that the test will be based on the skills that are required in the job role. 

The employer cannot include factors in the test that negatively affect the applicant based on their socio-cultural or biological factors.

Finally, if an applicant has some kind of disability, then they will be required to be provided with aids to effectively work with the organization. 

These can include a sign language interpreter and wheelchair access, among a few, based on the kind of disability. 

Job Referrals 

It is a prohibited employment practice to consider the referral’s race, sex, color, religion, nationality, age, and disability into consideration. 

The EEOC prohibits such employment practices for making an inclusive and diverse workplace. 

Job Assignments And Promotions 

It is a prohibited employment practice for employers to assign job roles or provide promotions based on one’s race, color, sex, religion, national identity, age, and disability. 

For instance, a manager is prohibited from discriminating between their team members while assigning a particular job assignment. An example can include a manager not assigning technical projects to female team members. 

This can be because the manager might have a stereotypical notion that women are not good at technical jobs. 

On the other hand, segregating a particular group of employees belonging to a particular race can be another example of prohibited employment practices. 

Dress Code 

Every employer has the right to develop an appropriate dress code policy that is applicable to all employees within the organization. 

But, there is a small twist to this notion, as no employer can discriminate against an employee based on their cultural or religious attire. 

For instance, an orthodox Jewish employee might come to the workplace with a head cap. But he has no right to be discriminated against based on his religious attire. 

On the other hand, if an employer wants to create a uniform dress code. Then it should be applicable to all employees. And this dress code will not be based in favor of a particular group of employees. 

For instance, if the employer decides that all employees need to wear formal attire irrespective of their religion or cultural affiliation, then it would be uniform in nature. 

Final Thoughts

Every individual is vested with the right to be protected from any kind of discrimination in the United States. 

Similarly, every job applicant and employee in the US is protected by the EEOC for the purpose of restricting the occurrence of prohibited employment practices in the workplace. 

So, it can be stated that if you face any kind of discrimination at the workplace, you have the right to acquire legal assistance based on EEOC laws to fight against your employer’s discriminatory acts.

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nilanjana basu
nilanjana basu

Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.


2 Replies to “What Is Prohibited Within Employment Practices?”

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