Title VII has led the companies to change their recruiting, hiring, and firing policies with the purpose to eliminate workplace discrimination.
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Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, race, religion, color, and national origin (Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination 2002).
Any person who thinks that his employment rights are violated because of discrimination has the right to file a case against the potential or current employer. Recalling the recent sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson, Sidney Austin (32) alleged that the company violated discrimination laws applying to employer-employee relationships (Jones 2006).
Susan Hickman brought a lawsuit against the same company asserting that she was demoted from equity partner to a contract partner and was terminated because of her complaint about disparate treatment of women at a firm and a sexually hostile environment (Jones 2006).
Prior to Title VII, discriminative actions of employers were not punished and employees were not protected by law against discrimination.
The above two examples are vivid examples of discriminative hiring and firing policies that are still very common in many companies. Title VII creates pressure on companies to recognize the presence of discriminative activity and to take corrective action about alleged discrimination. Today, any company which used race, color, sex, religion, or origin of the candidate as a factor of decision making becomes subject to a lawsuit. In addition, Title VII prohibits firing decisions guided by the above factors.
Pregnant women, people with disabilities, and representatives of non-traditional sexual orientation are also protected by Title VII.
Job requirements must be uniformly applied to people of all colors. The law violation may be found if the company policies exclude certain people significantly more than others (Race/Color Discrimination 2007). Examples of unlawful practices include soliciting applications only from sources in which all candidates are of the same race and requiring candidates to have a specific educational background that is not important for business needs.
For example, the company violates Title VII if separate forms with information are kept about race, sex, or color. In addition, Title VII prohibits asking pre-employment questions about race because it can be used as a factor for the selection decision. For example, if the representatives of a specific group are excluded from employment, the company conducts an act of discrimination.
Title VII was enacted by Congress with the purpose to improve the social and economic conditions of women and minorities by providing them with equal opportunities in the employment market. Title VII was a part of the large pattern of segregation, exclusion, inferior treatment, and discrimination of women and minorities in many spheres of life. If the complaining party (employee) is able to demonstrate that a respondent (employer) uses specific employment practice that causes an impact on the basis of sex, race, or religion, the respondent becomes subject to Title VII violation.
For example, if the applicant follows Islam, while his potential employer is Christian, the issue of religion cannot be taken into account while making a decision to hire.
In conclusion, Title VII provides guidance for employers as well as employees on discriminative activities. This law holds employers responsible for creating a friendly discrimination-free working environment. All employment-related decisions including recruiting, hiring, and firing are subjects of discriminative decisions. Companies are prohibited from making decisions based on race, sex, color, origin, or religion as well as other factors such as pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, and age. Title VII ensures that all applicants and employees are granted equal employment rights.
Jones, L. (2006). Ex-Partner’s Lawsuit Highlights Title VII Issues. The National Law Journal. Web.
Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination. Questions and Answers. (2002). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Web.
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Color/Race Discrimination. (2007). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Web.