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Employment Law Paper: Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination at the workplace is a severe issue because it implies that people are deprived of some rights or inadequately treated based on their ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and others. American legislative bodies understand that the problem exists. That is why Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 emerged to abolish discrimination at the workplace. This law protects numerous groups, including religious individuals, women, and sexual minorities, who should undertake a specific procedure to file a claim against their employers that, however, should follow best practices to avoid such issues.

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Three Protected Classes of Persons

Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an essential legislation piece to combat unlawful employment practices. In particular, this law stipulates that employers’ practice is considered illegal when they refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against individuals based on these peoples’ race, sex, religion, and others (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.b). That is why there are a few examples of how the legislation under consideration protects such individuals from inadequate treatment.

Firstly, if religion is a basis of discrimination against a person, they can file a claim against their employer. Such an example emerged in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (2015) case, where a Muslim woman was not hired because she wore a headscarf. The employer stipulated that wearing any cap was a violation of the company’s internal policy. However, the Supreme Court specified that such practice was illegal according to Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 because this legislation piece prohibited prejudice based on religion (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., 2015). Kazyak et al. (2018) admit that “federal and state laws protect people from discrimination on the basis of religion in all 50 states” (p. 14). Thus, one can state that Muslims, Jews, and other minorities are protected classes in the US.

Secondly, the legislation piece under consideration provides women with protection against workplace discrimination. A decision in Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson (1986) justifies this claim because that case demonstrated that harassment created a hostile working environment. The Supreme Court stated that this situation violated Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 1986). Simultaneously, Bose et al. (2020) stipulate that protecting women from workplace discrimination is not a homogenous issue. The rationale behind this statement is that whether this population group faces adequate treatment depends on the country. Bose et al. (2020) focus on United Nations member states and conclude that a large percentage of high-income countries draws sufficient attention toward addressing the issue under consideration. That is why one can state that women are protected from workplace discrimination in most developed nations.

Thirdly, Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 can be applied to protect gay and transgender individuals from biased attitudes. A suitable example refers to the Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) case, where the employee was fired after it emerged that he played in a gay softball league. Even though an earlier circuit court decision supported that the firing decision had financial reasons, the Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to fire a person for being gay or transgender (Bostock v. Clayton County,2020). However, it is worth admitting that such a state of affairs was not always present. Burke et al. (2021) explain that most states failed to draw sufficient attention toward protecting LGBT individuals from employment discrimination. The decision in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) demonstrated that Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be applied to representatives of sexual minorities (Burke et al., 2021). Thus, one can state that current legislation protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination.

Procedural Requirements to File a Claim

Even though the information above has demonstrated that the American legislation deals with mitigating workplace discrimination, such adverse cases occur. That is why individuals should know how to act if they face a prejudiced attitude from their employers. Consequently, the following paragraphs will comment on what agency a person should contact, what conditions should be present to file a claim, and how the agency can investigate the case.

To begin with, one should explain how a person can know where to go if they face discrimination. On the one hand, such an individual can contact the Equal Employment and Opportunities Commission (EEOC), a federal agency. This body protects the employees’ rights and deals with many discrimination cases on a national level. On the other hand, each state has local administrative agencies that are the Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities. This organization also covers all employment discrimination cases, but its jurisdiction is limited to a state where it resides. If a person wants to file a complaint, it is helpful to surf the Internet to find the closest organization or reach a public lawyer to get assistance with choosing the body to contact online.

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Irrespective of whether an individual chooses to deal with a federal or state agency, it is necessary to prepare certain information to file a claim. Firstly, personal details of both the victim and an individual who is accused of discriminatory behavior are required. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (n.d.a) clarifies that the names, addresses, and telephone numbers should be presented. Secondly, the person should provide a description of events or activities that are believed to be unfair or prejudiced (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.a). This information is necessary for a state or federal agency to determine whether there is any legal reasoning to consider that discrimination is present in such cases. Finally, it is essential to mention the exact dates when the event occurred (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.a). This detail is significant because there are some time limits to file complaints. The standard period is 180 working days, but it can be extended to 300 working days under some circumstances. That is why it is reasonable to file a complaint with 180 days to ensure that the time limit is met.

Once a complaint is filed, an agency should start the investigation process. The first step is to notify a respondent that somebody sued against them (New York State, n.d.). If a person contacts a state agency, it can forward a copy of this claim to the EEOC office if a respondent resides in a different state. The following step is to investigate the claim by relying on numerous methods, including field investigation, written inquiry, and investigatory conference (New York State, n.d.). These processes are necessary for an agency to collect evidence that is required to establish a fact of discrimination. If the obtained information demonstrates that discriminatory practices were present, the agency can prepare a lawsuit against the employer.

Recommendations to an Employer

If I were the attorney on retainer for an employer, I would give a few pieces of advice to help the client avoid potential discrimination claims. The first recommendation is to get acquainted with Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. This document is essential because it allows employers to understand what behavior can be considered discrimination against employees (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.b). Thus, the information in this legislation piece can be sufficient for the client to ensure that their employment practices are not biased.

However, Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 appeared many years ago, but employment discrimination cases tend to happen now and then. That is why a suitable strategy is to consider how real-life organizations manage this issue. On the one hand, Dadanlar and Abebe (2020) stipulate that “firms led by female CEOs have a reduced likelihood of discrimination lawsuits” (p. 398). A possible explanation of this fact is that women also face some forms of discrimination in the modern world. That is why they understand the adverse consequences of this issue and contribute to making the workforce diverse and equal. That is why a recommendation to my imaginary client would be to hire women in some management positions. As a result, academic evidence allows for supposing that female managers will bring more diversity to the workplace, which will help avoid discrimination lawsuits.

On the other hand, I would recommend drawing more attention to promoting LGBT diversity. For example, Maks-Solomon and Drewry (2020) stipulate that many American corporations changed their position from opposing to promoting the rights of this minority group. Valuable strategies are to sponsor pride parades, have hiring policies that welcome LGBT individuals, contribute to the emergence of employee groups that promote workers’ interests, and others (Maks-Solomon & Drewry, 2020). Thus, I would help my client understand that they could also invest in such activities to promote diversity and avoid criticism. It is possible to suggest that this strategy would allow the employer to create a diverse workforce where discrimination issues based on gender identity would be improbable. I can also suppose that the same approach would be beneficial to ensure that representatives of ethnic minorities do not witness prejudiced attitudes. Consequently, it is possible to rely on the existing practices that American firms and corporations utilize to avoid workplace discrimination claims.

Conclusion

American legislation draws sufficient attention to ensure that discrimination does not affect employees. Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 is among those laws that govern this area. This legislation stipulates that employers are not allowed to subject their employees to biased attitudes based on the worker’s gender, religion, ethnicity, and other peculiarities. Academic evidence and Supreme Court cases demonstrate that women, religious individuals, and sexual minorities are protected classes under this regulation. However, some discrimination practices occur, and employees should know how to respond to them. According to the information from credible sources, an affected person can contact a state or federal agency to report a prejudiced attitude. The organizations should investigate these cases and file a lawsuit against employers if the evidence demonstrates that they discriminated against some workers. That is why employers should make efforts to avoid such issues, and using the strategies of American firms and corporates as an example is a suitable strategy.

References

Bose, B., Quinones, F., Moreno, G., Raub, A., Huh, K., & Heymann, J. (2020). Protecting adults with caregiving responsibilities from workplace discrimination: Analysis of national legislation. Journal of Marriage and Family, 82(3), 953-964.

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Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 US. (2020).

Burke, K., Kazyak, E., & MillerMacPhee, A. (2021). LGBT employment nondiscrimination: Debating sexuality and citizenship. Sexual Research and Social Policy. 

Dadanlar, H. H., & Abebe, M. (2020). Female CEO leadership and the likelihood of corporate diversity misconduct: Evidence from S&P 500 firms. Journal of Business Research, 118(1), 398-405.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., 575 US. (2015).

Kazyak, E., Burke, L., & Stange, M. (2018). Logics of freedom: Debating religious freedom laws and gay and lesbian rights. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 4, 1-18.

Maks-Solomon, C., & Drewry, J. M. (2020). Why do corporations engage in LGBT rights activism? LGBT employee groups as internal pressure groups. Business and Politics, 23(1), 124-152.

Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 US 57. (1986).

New York State. (n.d.). Complaint. 

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US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.a). How to file a complaint. 

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.b). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

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