Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act Term Paper

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¶ … Civil Right Act 1964 is a federal law that "prohibit job discrimination against employees, applicants, and union member on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and gender at any stage of employment" (Cross and LeRoy Miller 493). In addition, Title VII protection has been extended to include barring most workplace harassment and discrimination covering all private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions with 15 or more employees

(Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Title VII 1), labor unions with 15 or more members, labor unions that operate hiring halls (to which members go regularly to be assigned jobs as they become available), employment agencies, and state or local governing units or agencies (Cross and LeRoy Miller 493). However, the United States Supreme Court has also ruled that an employer with less than 15 employees is not automatically shielded from a lawsuit under Article VII (see Cross and LeRoy Miller 493). A special section of the act prohibits discrimination in most federal and state employment. When Article VII applies to the employer, any employee -- including an undocumented (alien) worker -- can bring an action for employment discrimination (Cross and LeRoy Miller 493).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act Assignment

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The EEOC monitors compliance with Title VII (Cross and LeRoy Miller 493). Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws. There need to be at least 20 employees in age discrimination cases. Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered. The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 1). Before an employee can file a complaint against an employer under Title VII, he first must file a charge with the EEOC (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- Title VII 1). The EEOC may investigate the dispute and attempt to obtain the parties' voluntary consent to an out-of-court settlement (Cross and LeRoy Miller 493f.). If the EEOC is not successful in reaching such voluntary settlement, the agency has the authority to file a lawsuit on the employee's behalf to protect his or her rights and the interests of the public. However, it does not file lawsuits in all cases where it finds discrimination (see Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 1). The EEOC [also] does not investigate every claim of employment discrimination. Generally, it takes only "priority cases," such as cases that affect many workers and cases involving retaliatory discharge (firing an employee in retaliation for submitting a claim with the EEOC (Cross and LeRoy Miller 494). If the EEOC decides not to investigate a claim, the victim may bring his or her own claim against the employer (Cross and LeRoy Miller 494). In that case, the EEOC will issue the employee a "right to sue" letter, and he then can file a complaint and begin the litigation process (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- Title VII 1).

Discrimination based on Race, Color, and National Origin: If an employer's standards and policies for selecting or promoting employees have a discriminatory effect on employees or job applicant in these protected classes, than a presumption of illegal discrimination arises (Cross and LeRoy Miller 494f.). The employer must then show that its standards or policies have a substantial, demonstrable relationship to realistic classifications for the job in question (Cross and LeRoy Miller 495). Title VII also protect against, reserve discrimination, i.e., discrimination against majority group individuals, such as white males (Cross 495). For example, if an Afro-American woman fired several white men from their management positions at a school district, the school district could be held liable for reverse discrimination unless it had articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its actions (Cross and LeRoy Miller 495).

Discrimination based on Religion: Title VII also prohibits government employers, private employers, and unions from discriminating against persons because of their religion. Employers cannot treat their employees more or less favorably based on their religious beliefs or practices and cannot require employees to participate in any religious activity (or forbid them from participating in one (Cross 495). If an employee's religion prohibits her or him from working at a certain day of the week or at a certain type of job, the employer must make a reasonable attempt to accommodate these religious requirements. Employers must reasonably accommodate an employee's sincerely held religious belief even if the belief is not based on the doctrines of a traditionally recognized religion, such as Christianity or Judaism, or denomination, such as Baptist (Cross and LeRoy Miller 495).

Discrimination based on Gender: Under Title VII as well as under other federal acts, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, employers are forbidden from discrimination against employees on the basis of gender. Employers are prohibited from classifying jobs as male or female or from advertising in help-wanted columns that are designated male or female unless the employer can prove that the gender of the applicant is essential to the job. Employers also cannot separate male or female seniority lists or refuse to promote employees based on their gender (Cross and LeRoy Miller 495f.). The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which amended Title VII, expanded the definition of gender discrimination to include discrimination based on pregnancy (Cross 496). The Equal Payment Act of 1963 prohibits employers from engaging in gender-based wage discrimination (Cross 496). More than four decades after the Equal Pay act was enacted, there is still a significant gap between the wages earned by male and female employees in the United States. Women typically earn about three-quarters of what men earn (Cross and LeRoy Miller 496).

Constructive Discharge and Sexual Harassment: The majority of Title VII complaints involve unlawful discrimination in decisions to hire or fire employees. In some situations, however, employees who leave their jobs voluntarily can claim that they were "constructively discharged." Constructive discharge occurs when the employer causes the employee's working condition to be so intolerable that a reasonable person in the employee's position would feel compelled to quit (Cross and LeRoy Miller 496). Constructive Discharge applies to all Title VII discrimination (Cross and LeRoy Miller 497). Title VII also applies to Sexual Harassment. An employee's constructive discharge resulting from her supervisors' sexual harassment constituted a tangible employment action under Title VII .

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior directed at the opposite sex that is deliberate or repeated, not asked for or returned and which affects the terms and conditions of employment (Sexual Harassment and Complaint Policy, p. 2). Courts and employers generally use the definition of sexual harassment contained in the guidelines of the EEOC. This language has also formed the basis for most state laws prohibiting sexual harassment. Under the EEOC Policy Guidance on Current Issues of Sexual Harassment it is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person's sex. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Homepage "Sexual Harassment").

Sexual harassment can take any or all of the following three forms (see Sexual Harassment and Complaint Policy 2ff.): Verbal Harassment: Epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, slurs or unwanted sexual talk. It also includes verbal abuse of a sexual nature such as graphic verbal commentaries about a person's body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, propositioning, suggestive or sexually graphic letters, notes and invitations. Physical Harassment: Assault, battery, impeding or blocking normal movement or interfering with work, and unwanted touching such as, pinching, grabbing, patting. Visual Harassment: Derogatory posters, notices, cards, calendars, bulletins, cartoons, graffiti, photographs, signs, drawings, protracted staring or gestures. These three forms of sexual harassment can be exhibited as one of two types of sexual harassment: "Quid Pro Quo Harassment" or "Environmental Harassment" (see Sexual Harassment and Complaint Policy 4):

Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors, and other verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature when: a) Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of a person's employment, b) Submission to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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