Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark law enacted in terms of leveling the playing field for potential job applicants and employees. Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin (eeoc.gov). Title VII is considered to be the most important equal opportunity law ever enacted because it contains the broadest coverage, prohibition and remedies to individuals. Title VII was passed to ensure you would be considered for jobs not on the basis of the color of their skin, religion, gender or their national origin. Rather, you should be selected on the basis of the abilities necessary to perform a job. Title VII applies to all school districts, private schools and charter schools. You have the right to file charges against your employer, administrators or co-workers if discriminatory practices outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are not followed. The passage of Title VII started a new revolution concerning how employees are selected for employment.

Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, with several notable exceptions:

(1) Religious organizations

(2) Private clubs

(3) Places of employment connected to Indian reservations.

Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 paved the way for an end to discrimination in the workplace, a modest amount of discrimination still manifests in organizations. This is one reason why diversity training programs have become so popular in the past ten years and why employers around the world invest billions of dollars annually in such programs. Training programs commonly implement a face-to-face seminar/conference and follow-up the training using classes in a learning management system. However, diversity training programs initiated by organizations are often times inadequate and developed for the wrong reason. There are many instances when diversity programs lack funding and are simply a band-aid to solve diversity problems in the workplace. Diversity training attempts to correct discriminatory practices by co-workers and administrators, which can include sexual harassment, racism, age discrimination and biases held against homosexuals.

Organizations can protect themselves by implementing diversity programs because when incidents barrel out of control, employees often fight back by pressing charges and filing devastating lawsuits against the supervisor and the employer in question. Although the majority of lawsuits occur as a result of discrimination practices in corporate America, school districts have faced countless lawsuits dealing with VII violations. In addition, many students have won large settlements because the school district failed to remedy discrimination problems. Investing time and money alone does not necessarily solve discrimination and harassment issues.

Cited below are several examples of discriminatory practices occurring throughout organizations today that could be avoided by more adequately performing well thought out diversity training.

Common forms of discrimination covered by Title VII:

  • Sexual harassment
    • Quid pro quo
    • Hostile environment
  • Racism
  • Age discrimination
  • Sexual orientation

If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, based on your race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age or disability, you may file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You must file charges with the EEOC with 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act occurring.

For more information about Title VII or filing charges against your employer, please go to www.eeoc.gov