The Foundation of Anti-Discrimination Laws Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their inclusion in a protected class. This landmark legislation is the foundation for anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws in the workplace. Title VII generally applies to businesses and organizations that employ 15 or more workers, labor unions, employment agencies and local, state and federal governments. Protected Classes Since the law was enacted, more than 50 years ago, amendments have expanded the reach of the Civil Rights Act to additional protected classes. For example, genetic information is a new class that has recently been added to the protected classes of race, gender, pregnancy, national origin, religion, disability and age. An employer who has a connection to a protected class, such as through marriage or membership in an organization, may also be protected under the Act. The impression of being in a class may also be enough to trigger protection. Discriminatory Employment Decisions A business is not permitted to consider a worker’s inclusion in a class when it makes such employment-related decisions as: Recruitment and hiring Firing or layoff Compensation Promotion or transfer Shifts or assignments Benefits package Training An employer may be considered in violation of the Civil Rights Act for policies that have no legitimate business purpose and cause a discriminatory result. For instance, requiring workers to wear a skirt as their only uniform option would tend to discriminate against men. Similarly, designating the auto repair department […]Read More
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