The main law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the civil rights statute prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Those protections were specifically extended to federal employees by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 extended employment discrimination protections to federal employees and applicants for employment with disabilities; it was expanded by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 also apply to the government.
The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 provided that federal personnel management should follow merit principles, including treating employees fairly and equitably and that personnel actions should be free from prohibited practices, including discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability.
In addition, executive orders and other policy determinations set policies against discrimination based on marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity.
These laws and policies generally have implications for a wide range of personnel decisions. For details and appeals procedures, see Chapter 10, Section 2 of the Federal Employees Almanac.