According to the United States Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 120,589,850 people employed in the United States out of an estimated 330,000,000 total citizens (U.S. Department of Labor). This means that over one-third of the country’s total population is currently employed. With such a large percentage of the population in the work force, it has become necessary to incorporate laws and restrictions that protect a worker’s individual rights. Over the last 50 years there have been several historic measures taken by the United States government to protect workers from not only physically hazardous working conditions but any working environment that may be deemed ‘hostile;” be it physical or mental. One area that has drawn significant attention by lawmakers is the topic of discrimination in the workplace. Since 1963 the United States government has taken substantial steps to ensure that every American is protected from discrimination in the workplace. A few monumental actions taken by the government to protect workers’ rights include legislation such as; The Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, The Civil Rights Act of 1991, Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, or EEOC, in 1964 to monitor and investigate cases of alleged discrimination.
Discrimination in the Workplace:
The Laws, the Cases, the Stats, and the E.E.O.C.
Staelawyers.com defines employment discrimination as, “When a worker is treated differently (typically worse) than others in the workforce due to their race, gender (sex), national origin, religion, age, or disability” (Discrimination). Employment discrimination can be any adverse action that has a negative economic effect on an employee, such as demotion, suspension, termination, loss of benefits, or failure to promote. Discrimination can also take the form of a hostile work environment with verbal or physical harassment; or it can occur when a qualified employee with a disability fails to be reasonably accommodated by an employer (Discrimination). Judy Wilson, of eHow.com adds, “Discrimination also takes place when men and women working for the same employer do not receive equal pay for equal work” (Wilson). Employment discrimination is not only morally unethical, it’s illegal. Since 1963 the United States government has passed numerous laws that protect workers from employment discrimination and in 1964 Congress created the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, or EEOC to enforce these laws and protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. What is the EEOC?
On March 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, which required government contractors to, "Take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." This order established the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and Vice President Lyndon Johnson was appointed by President Kennedy to head the newly founded committee. This committee was the forerunner of the modern Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which was established in July of 1964 (Wikipedia). According to their website, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC is a bipartisan commission comprised of five presidentially appointed members, including the Chair (Jacqueline A. Berrien), Vice Chair (Stuart J. Ishimaru), and three Commissioners (Constance S. Barker, Chai Feldblum, and Victoria A. Lipnic). The Chair is responsible for the administration and implementation of policy as well as the financial management and organizational development of...