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Congress exempt from some laws, but others apply

The Senate is opening debate on legislation to ban insider financial trading by members of Congress, though the Securities and Exchange Commission says lawmakers already are subject to the same prohibitions as other investors. Congress, however, is exempt from provisions of several other federal laws. In 1995, the House and Senate passed the Congressional Accountability Act, which did apply many civil rights, labor and workplace safety statutes to the legislative branch.

Congress is still exempt from:

— The Freedom of Information Act.

— Investigatory subpoenas to obtain information for safety and health probes.

— Protections against retaliation for whistleblowers.

— Having to post notices of worker rights in offices.

— Prosecution for retaliating against employees who report safety and health hazards.

— Having to train employees about workplace rights and legal remedies.

— Record-keeping requirements for workplace injuries and illnesses.

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The Congressional Accountability Act applied the following provisions to the legislative branch:

— The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

— The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

— Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

— The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988.

— The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

— The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

— The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute that allows collective bargaining by some federal workers.

— The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

— The Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

— The Veterans' Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994.

— The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1989, which requires employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.

— Provisions of the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act, which gives veterans a preference for federal jobs.

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