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Title Vii and Its Applications to the Workplace

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Essay title: Title Vii and Its Applications to the Workplace

Title VII and its Applications to the Workplace

Introduction

In years past an employee or potential employee did not have many rights concerning discrimination by an employer. However, in 1964, the federal government adopted and passed The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Contained within this act is Title VII, which states that employers are barred from discriminating against any person with respect to compensation or other terms and conditions of employment on the basis of that person's race, color, religion, sex or national origin. "Many anti-discrimination statutes have followed Title VII, but it remains the first and the broadest" (Preston, 2003-2006). Team A, within this paper will summarize the scope of Title VII and its applications to the workplace.

History and Evolution

The legislative history of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, of which Title VII came in the midst of the Civil Rights movement and the turmoil of the South, was predominately about racial fairness for blacks, not gender equality of women. The later addition of sexual discrimination is not particularly helpful in determining what Congress had in mind when it added protection for discrimination based on sex. The legislative history of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the culmination of decades of debate and political maneuvering over various civil rights proposals. In the end, it took three momentous events to propel the bill to the top of the agenda of Congress and the Administration. The first was the August 1963 March on Washington, during which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous speech, "I have a dream". The second was the September 1963 bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Alabama, in which four little girls died. The third was the assassination of President Kennedy, whose support for the bill carried even more weight in Congress and with the public after his premature death. President Kennedy's outspoken support for civil rights legislation eventually led to the backing of the bill by his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Johnson immediately called for support of a civil rights bill by stating in Congress, "Let us continue the ideas and the ideal which [Kennedy] so nobly represented must and will be translated into effective action" (Quote DB, 2005). With the support of the new President, legislation was drafted. After months of debate and a 75-day filibuster in the Senate, the bill passed and was signed into law by President Johnson on July 2, 1964.

Impact

It is extremely important that the rules of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) are clearly understood within the workplace. Today, organizations must be equally concerned about any behavior that may have the effect of being discriminatory. "For example, a "no beard" policy might seem harmless, but it could have the effect of discriminating against African Americans who have a predisposition to a skin condition aggravated by shaving" (Think Avenue, 2007).

Title VII has forced organizations to have stronger human resource management teams and corporate lawyers to sort through existing and future company policies. This creates an additional financial burden for the organization. Based on documented Title VII litigation from other organizations, many companies try to tailor their policies around the outcome. If something is questionable, it is up to the human resource management and corporate lawyer teams to figure it out. The ultimate goal is to protect the organization and the employee.

The impact of Title VII has also contributed to the rise of the employment-at-will policies in the United States. "Employment-at-will states that any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work" (Wikipedia, 2007). Although this does not completely safeguard an organization from Title VII litigation, it can help reduce some of the many frivolous lawsuits that arise. It makes it slightly more difficult for a person to prove that his or her discharge was due to a violation of Title VII. Many employees will argue that the implementation of the employment-at-will policy makes violations of Title VII more frequent (Wilson, 2006). When Title VII is appropriately followed, the impact is very favorable within the workplace. It creates a more diverse work environment.

Covered and Not Covered

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its amendments protect any employee or applicant from discrimination based of his or her sex. "It applies to hiring, termination, promotion,

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