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Title VII

Title VII is the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, and conditions of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also prohibits retaliation against any employee or individual for exercising their rights under the act.
 
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
 
In this chapter:

· Coverage  
· Unlawful Practices  
· Exceptions  
· Enforcement  
· Remedies  
· Records  
· Reports  
· Notices  
 
Coverage

An employer is subject to Title VII if it has 15 employees on the payroll on each working day of at least 20 weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.
 
Unlawful Practices

Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating against any worker or job applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This means that employers may not use any of these conditions to:

· Fail or refuse to hire an individual;  
· Discharge a worker;  
· Discriminate against employees in terms of their compensation, working conditions, or privileges of employment;  
· Limit, segregate, or classify employees or job applicants in any way that tends to deprive them of individual or employment opportunities or that adversely affects their status as an employee;  
· Limit or restrict admission to any program that provides apprenticeship or other training, including on-the- job training;  
· Indicate a preference in advertisements related to employment or training opportunities;  
· Engage in any employment practice that results in creating a "disparate impact" on a protected class, if the employer cannot demonstrate that the "challenged practice is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity."  
 
Exceptions

Under Title VII it is not unlawful for an employer to:
 
· Pay different wages or provide different terms or privileges of employment to workers if such actions are based on a bona fide merit, seniority, or other system designed to measure quantity or quality of production;  
· Take religion, sex, or national origin into account in making employment decisions about jobs in which these factors are legitimate qualifications (This exemption does not extend to race.); or  
· Base an employment decision on the results of professionally developed ability tests that are not designed, intended, or used to discriminate.  
 
Enforcement

Employees or job applicants who believe that they have been discriminated against may file a Title VII charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Before processing a charge, EEOC must notify the employer of the allegations and must give state and local fair employment agencies at least 60 days to resolve them. EEOC must investigate the charge after the state or local agency has acted or 60 days have elapsed, and during investigations EEOC can require an employer to provide relevant records or evidence. If the investigation does not reveal any discrimination, EEOC dismisses the charge. If EEOC finds support for the discrimination charge, it must try to resolve the dispute informally through conciliation proceedings. If this effort fails, the commission can file suit against the employer in a U.S. district court.
 
The act allows employees and job applicants who have Title VII complaints to bring suit directly in a U.S. district court after their charges have been on file with EEOC for 180 days and the commission has not dismissed them. Complainants retain their private right to sue even if EEOC determines that discrimination did not occur.
 
Remedies

Courts which find that discrimination occurred can order the employer to:
 

· Stop engaging in the unlawful employment practices.  
· Require the employer to undertake affirmative action.  
· Increase the wages or salaries of discrimination victims and pay them back wages with interest. An employer's back-pay obligation can cover up to two years before the charge was filed with EEOC, and can continue until the discrimination victims are earning what they would have been earning if the discrimination had not occurred. Back-pay can be reduced by up to the amount the victim earned between the time the discrimination first occurred and when it ended.  
· Expunge improper entries in victims' personnel records.  
· Provide other equitable relief.  
 
Records

Title VII requires employers to keep certain records, including all personnel and employment records that relate to applications, hirings, promotions, transfers, layoffs, terminations, pay rates and other compensation terms, and selections for training or apprenticeship programs. Employers also must keep all personnel records related to a discrimination charge until its final disposition.
 
Reports

Employers with 100 or more workers are required to file annual EEO-1 reports with EEOC.
 
Notices

All employers are required to post an official EEO notice stating that equal employment is the law and indicating that individuals should contact EEOC if they feel the employer has discriminated against them. Employers may obtain the EEO poster from the EEOC.
  
Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures
 
In this chapter:

· Coverage  
· Discrimination Defined  
· Enforcement  
· Recordkeeping  
 
The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (29 CFR §1607) are designed to help employers comply with federal laws that prohibit using selection procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
 
Coverage

The guidelines apply to employers subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and/or Executive Order 11246.
 
Discrimination Defined

Under the guidelines, any employment selection procedure is discriminatory if it has an adverse impact on the hiring, promotion, or other employment opportunities of people of any race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. A selection procedure has an adverse impact if the final selection rate for any race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is less than 80 percent of the rate for the group that has the highest selection rate. The guidelines allow an employer to use a selection procedure that results in an adverse impact if the employer shows that the procedure measures a trait related to successful performance on the job or if the employer eliminates the features that cause the adverse impact.
 
Enforcement

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the departments of Labor, Justice, and Treasury use the guidelines in exercising their respective authorities to enforce Title VII and Executive Order 11246.
 
Recordkeeping

Employers with more than 100 employees are required to keep detailed records of employee selection procedures for each job to help enforcement officials determine if the procedures have an adverse impact. Records should include the number of people hired, promoted, and terminated each year; the number of applicants for hire and for promotion; and the selection procedures used to fill each vacancy. Employers that have 100 or fewer employees must record the sex of each person who fills each job, plus each one's race or national origin if it comprises more than 2 percent of the relevant labor market. The guidelines do not require employers to follow any particular procedure in recording applicants' sex, race, or national origin. Employers may rely on the applicant's self-identification or, where applications are made in person, employers may establish records based on their visual observation of the applicant.

Last updated: 03-04

 
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