Title VII (The Civil Rights Act of 1964)

Editor's Note: Understand how to comply with Title VII in all aspects of employment.

Beth P. ZollerOverview: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits applicant and employee discrimination and harassment based on race, color, sex, religion and national origin. It applies to almost all employers who employ more than 15 employees with some exceptions (i.e., Native American tribes, religious groups, bona fide nonprofit private membership organizations). Further, many states and municipalities maintain similar laws regarding equal opportunity in the workplace.

Title VII applies to all aspects of employment including hiring, firing, promotion and retention. It also prohibits retaliation for complaining of harassment or discrimination.

Title VII prohibits disparate treatment discrimination (treating an individual unfairly based on his or her protected class status) as well as disparate impact discrimination (when a neutral workplace policy or practice negatively affects individuals in a protected class).

In order to comply with Title VII, an employer should make sure to maintain policies and practices that do not discriminate against individuals based on a protected class.

An employer should make sure that all employment decisions are well documented and based upon job-related criteria, rather than the applicant or employee's protected class. This will assist the employer in defending any potential employment discrimination claims.

Further, an employer should aim to provide training to all supervisors and employees regarding its zero tolerance policy for discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Trends: Since its passage, the parameters of Title VII have continually expanded, and now prohibit sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and more.

In fact just recently, in Macy v. Holder, EEOC No. 012012082, the EEOC ruled that employment discrimination based on gender identity or transgender status is prohibited under Title VII as a form of unlawful sex discrimination.

However, employers should keep in mind that the US Supreme Court has reinforced the notion that religious entities are exempt from Title VII.

In 2012, the Court ruled in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 132 S. Ct. 694 (2012), that the ministerial exception under Title VII and the First Amendment prohibited a teacher who performed religious functions at a parochial school from bringing a claim for employment discrimination.

Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Title VII (The Civil Rights Act of 1964)

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    Date:
    03 October 2013
    Type:
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    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently responded to a letter from state attorneys general urging the EEOC to reconsider aspects of its 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the use of arrest and conviction records by employers. In response, the EEOC reiterated its position that while it is not illegal for employers to conduct criminal background checks, the use of such background checks based on arrest and conviction records could have a disparate impact on minority groups resulting in discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

  • New Podcast Examines Key Supreme Court Wins for Employers

    Date:
    27 September 2013
    Type:
    News

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    Date:
    24 September 2013
    Type:
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    In Bonds v. Leavitt, 629 F.3d 369 (4th Cir. 2011), the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether an employee who "blew the whistle" to a person who lacked authority to correct the wrongdoing was protected from retaliation under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), in addition to other employment law claims.

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    Date:
    23 September 2013
    Type:
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    Date:
    28 June 2013
    Type:
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  • Supreme Court Sides With Employer in Raising Bar for Retaliation

    Date:
    26 June 2013
    Type:
    News

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    Date:
    21 May 2013
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    XpertHR has updated two of its state sections, Connecticut and New Jersey, to include further guidance on handling employee "whistleblowers" and to include a major exception to age-discrimination claims. Employers with locations in these states should review the additions to remain compliant with the law and proactive in preventing litigation.

  • Podcast: Inside the Supreme Court Insight on Case With Big HR Implications

    Date:
    09 May 2013
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    XpertHR takes you inside the Supreme Court with full coverage of the Title VII retaliation case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, including sound from the justices themselves. Depending on the outcome, the impact could extend to other employment laws.

  • Congress Considers Expanding Protections Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

    Date:
    30 April 2013
    Type:
    News

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About this topic

HR guidance on how to maintain and enforce policies and practices that prohibit discrimination, harassment and retaliation under Title VII.