Discrimination in the workplace has been a problem for very long. Many events of the past years played a critical role in the success of the Civil Rights Act. Mainly the struggle of the African Americans due to discrimination motivated the inception of the Act. President Lyndon Johnson worked with Congress and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to end segregation in schools, public places and at work. The federal law Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of color, national origin, religion race, and sex. It is applicable to all labor organizations, educational institutions, and employment agencies.
The title VII is applicable to the federal, state, local government, and both the private and public sectors. Discrimination in any aspect of employment like recruiting, assignment, transfer, layoff, leave benefits and all other related aspects is forbidden under Title VII. Companies covered by Title VII cannot deny employment or treat individuals differently with regard to workplace decisions based on racial, sexual, religious or national characteristics. Equal opportunity should not be denied because of marriage or association with people of a particular race or color. Employment decisions cannot be made based on stereotypes which are related to the features that are stated as protected. Intentional discrimination and job policy affecting persons of a particular race or color disproportionately are also covered by Title VII. (Upcounsel). It is unlawful to discriminate in admission to any program for any apprenticeship or other job training according to the Act. Candidates for employment are not to be favored on the basis of race, religion, sex or national origin to the extent of adjusting the scores or using different cutoff scores.
The law covers even a hostile working environment. Derogatory comments, jokes and offensive behavior targeting an individual’s race or color are unlawful and the employers can be held responsible under the Act. It is illegal to categorize jobs or exclude people of one group from taking particular positions. (U.S equal…). Even a transgender employee come under protection based on the recent rulings from EEOC and the federal court, which makes discrimination because of sex illegal. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII for treating pregnant women as other employees with disability. Some of the exceptions are when the requirement for employment is necessary to be classified and needs a qualification normal for operations. For colleges owned by a particular religion or any particular religious association, corporation or society it is not an unlawful employment practice to hire their employees to propagate the religion. Recognition of seniority and talents provided it
The initial coverage for the act was for firms with 25 or more employees which was amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 and was extended to firms with 15 or more employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was also established by the Act to enforce Title VII. Initially, the EEOC pursued informal methods like persuasion, conference, and conciliation to settle the complaints of the employees as the Act did not permit the agency to litigate on behalf of an injured employee. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 established the right to litigate on behalf of the employees for the EEOC. Title VII of the 1964 Civil rights Act was based on a private attorney general model which grants rights for private actions to implement its provisions prohibiting discrimination (Johnson 2012). The act permits individuals to bring litigation in court and individuals can seek compensation for damages.
The employees have the right to file a discrimination charge if they have experienced any discrimination with regard to hiring and firing, Transfers, compensation, training programs, retirement plans and other conditions regarding employment. It gives the right to participate in investigations on behalf of a co-worker who had faced discrimination. It protects the employees from the employer’s retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination. Discrimination complaint can be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days or six months from the date of the incident. The EEOC will take it up with the employer and attempts to settle the issue. If it is not able to reach a settlement it will file a lawsuit. Penalties for intentional discrimination are established by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 according to the number of employees with an employer. Reinstatement, retroactive seniority and back pay are also provided for the different types of discrimination.
As employers are facing more problems due to the racial and cultural differences it is necessary that they train the employees and prepare them to mitigate the problems arising out of discrimination and other protected workplace characteristics. The employers must make sure the HR policies follow the law. Discrimination complaints must be promptly responded and reasonable accommodations based on Title VII should be extended to the employees.
Johnson, O. C. A. (2012). Beyond the private attorney general: Equality directives in American law. New York University Law Review, 87, 1339–1413.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act | upcounsel 2019. (n.d). Retrieved from https://www.upcounsel.com/title-vii-of-the-civil-rights-act
U.S equal Employment opportunity commission Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm