Workplace Discrimination

Topics: Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Affirmative action Pages: 13 (2177 words) Published: August 24, 2007

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes major features that deal with

discrimination in multiple settings, however Title VII covers discrimination

in the workplace. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act bars discrimination

on the part of employers, including all public or private employers of 15 or

more persons (Dessler p. 30). Employers are barred to refuse employment

to certain protected individuals on the basis of their race, color, religion,

sex, or national origin. There have been several other bills that have come

into federal law that also deal with discrimination that will also be discussed

in detail as well. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

investigates complaints and protects the rights of individuals that have been

discriminated against.

"Originally conceived to protect the rights of African Americans, the bill

was amended prior to passage to protect the civil rights of everyone, and

explicitly included women for the first time" (Wikipedia). There were many

activists that played a major role in influencing The Civil Rights Act of 1964,

most notably was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X,

and Maya Angelou. The bill was finally passed on July 2, 1964, signed by

President Johnson, and became a landmark legislation.

Discrimination against race does not have an overall definition, but

generally encompasses ancestry, physical characteristics, race-linked

illness, culture, perception, association, or subgrouping. "Failing to provide a

work environment free of racial harassment is a form of discrimination under

Title VII. Liability can result from the conduct of a supervisor, coworkers, or

non-employees such as customers or business partners over whom the

employer has control" (EEOC Compliance Manual). Employers are urged to

provide an environment that is free of harassment and hostility toward

people of any race including offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling,

physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or

put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work

performance. The EEOC Compliance Manual gives several examples of

what is considered to be harassment or discrimination at the workplace.

Race discrimination proved to be costly for one delivery company

that lost its case against the EEOC. "The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity

Commission (EEOC) today announced that a federal court has approved a

$1,245,000 settlement of a class action race discrimination lawsuit brought by

EEOC and private counsel against McKesson Water Products Company and

Groupe Danone (which acquired McKesson in 2000)" (EEOC). Drivers who

were employed by this company were only allowed to have routes in

low-income areas, while "white" driver's routes were located in Beverly

Hills. This settlement also put mechanisms in place to prevent any further

racial discrimination to its employees.

Discrimination against a person for their color refers to their skin

pigmentation, complexion, or skin shade or tone. Race and color

discrimination overlap but are differentiated by ethnicity. One example

that is used in the EEOC Compliance Manual is as follows: "James, a light-

complexioned African American, has worked as a waiter at a restaurant for

over a year. His manager, a brown-complexioned African American, has

frequently made offensive comments and jokes about James's skin color,

causing him to lose sleep and dread coming in to work. James's requests

that the conduct stop only intensified the abuse. James has been subjected

to harassment in the form of a hostile work environment, based on his color"

(EEOC Compliance Manual). This particular conduct by an employer can

result in a lawsuit by the employee and the EEOC.

Title VII also...
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