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Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion or national origin.

Article by Sue Campbell, 1st-Writer.com
(Back to Equal Employment Opportunity Regulations - Article)

Originally proposed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the Civil Rights Act was a highly controversial issue in the United States. The bill languished in the House of Representatives until after President Kennedy’s assassination, when President Lyndon B. Johnson strengthened the proposal and adopted it as his own. The bill was pushed into law on July 2, 1964, following an overwhelming bipartisan support from the House of Representatives, and one of the longest debates in the Senate’s history.

Groups opposed to the Act, and to integration in general, responded with a significant backlash by protesting, increasing their support of pro-segregation political candidates, and increasing racial violence. The constitutionality of the Act was challenged and upheld by the Supreme Court in the test case Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S. (1964). The act gave federal law enforcement agencies the power to prevent racial discrimination in employment, voting, and the use of public facilities.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes 11 main provisions or titles dealing with discrimination of individuals based on race, color, gender, religion or national origin. The Title VII portion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 deals primarily with employment issues: prohibiting discrimination against applicants or employees based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin, and is the first federal statue to protect against discrimination. It continues to have a significant impact on hiring practices, today.

Title VII covers private employers with 15 or more employees, local, state and federal governments, educational institutions, private and public employment agencies, labor unions and organizations, and joint labor-management committees.

Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on:

These issues can be expanded to include discrimination based on: Ethnicity, Ethnic Surname or Association, Nation of Origin, Candidate or Employee’s Birthplace, Birthplace of Family Members, Applicant or Employee’s Native Language, Linguistic Accents or Characteristics, Physical Characteristics of an Ethnic Origin, or any condition that primarily or exclusively affects one racial or ethnic group (such as sickle cell anemia), Marital Status, Pregnancy, Number of Dependents, Occupation of Spouse, Healthcare Coverage of Spouse, Childcare Arrangements, Sexual Preference, Religious Affiliation, Religious Holidays Observed, Religious Practices, Religious Attendance and/or Activities, and so on.

In part, Title VII states:

DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN

SEC. 703. (a) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer--

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

(b) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

(c) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for a labor organization--

(1) to exclude or to expel from its membership, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify its membership, or to classify or fail or refuse to refer for employment any individual, in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or would limit such employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee or as an applicant for employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(3) to cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an individual in violation of this section.

(d) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for any employer, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including on-the-job training programs to discriminate against any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in admission to, or employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, (1) it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to hire and employ employees, for an employment agency to classify, or refer for employment any individual, for a labor organization to classify its membership or to classify or refer for employment any individual, or for an employer, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining programs to admit or employ any individual in any such program, on the basis of his religion, sex, or national origin in those certain instances where religion, sex, or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise, and (2) it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for a school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning to hire and employ employees of a particular religion if such school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning is, in whole or in substantial part, owned, supported, controlled, or managed by a particular religion or by a particular religious corporation, association, or society, or if the curriculum of such school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning is directed toward the propagation of a particular religion.

Read the complete Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (EEOC). For more historical information, see “Civil Rights 101” on the CivilRights.org Website.

Back to Equal Employment Opportunity Regulations in the U.S. - Article

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