The Workplace and Title Seven

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The Workplace and Title VII
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the catalyst in abolishing the separate but equal policies that had been a mainstay in our society. Though racial discrimination was the initial focal point, its enactment affected every race. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in housing, education, employment, public accommodations and the receipt of federal funds based on certain discrimination factors such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or religion. Title VII is the employment segment of the Civil Rights Act and is considered one of the most important aspects of legislation that has helped define the employment law practices in this country. Prior to Title VII, an employer could hire and fire an employee for any given reason. Title VII prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, training, promotion, discipline or other workplace decisions. (Bennett-Alexander-Hartman, Fourth Edition, pp 85) Though it applies to everyone, its enactment was especially significant to women and minorities, who until its passage had limited recourse in harassment based discriminations in the workplace.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces the federal laws, policies and regulations as it relates to employment discrimination. Over the course of years, Title VII has been amended to reinforce its prohibitions to include pregnancy as a type of gender discrimination, jury trials, compensatory damage and punitive damages. Its amendments have also strengthened the enforcement policy of the EEOC. An employer and employee need to be aware of those areas that are and are not covered by Title VII. It applies to employers, unions, joint labor and management committees as well as employment agencies whose functions include referral and training decisions among others. It applies to all private, federal, state and local governments who employ 15 employees or more. An employer with less than 15 employees is not required to comply with the guidelines set by Title VII. Title VII covers all levels and types of employees. In 1991, the act was further extended to include United States (U.S.) citizens who are employed outside of the U.S. for American employers. Non U.S. citizens are also protected as long as they are employed in the U.S. Title VII however, does not a...

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...overlooked in the workplace. Title VII has changed the pre-employment process in that the interviewer must be careful in the questions that are posed to the interviewee. The interviewer should not ask questions that can be deemed discriminatory. A rule of thumb is to limit questions that have to do with a person’s private life. As an employer, it must be made clear that discrimination will not be tolerated in the workplace. Employers and employees need to become familiar with what constitutes discrimination. Employees need to be informed of the employer’s position as it relates to workplace discrimination. An employer should adopt policies that address this issue in the form of employee handbooks and/or in house training for all employee levels, including what steps will be taken for violations. If the employer and employee work together to prevent these forms of discretions, it can help curtail some of the litigiousness surrounding this issue.

Anheuser-Busch, Inc., v. Missouri Com’n on Human Rights, 682 S.W.2d 828 (Mo.App. E.D. 1984)
Bennett-Alexander-Hartman, Employment Law for Business, 4th Edition, 85, 95, 97,
Griggs v. Duke Power, 401 U.S. 424 (1971).
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