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Equal Employment Opportunity: The Issue of Unlawful Discrimination


Discrimination is one of the most contentious social problems in the society. The issue permeates various aspects of life such as education and employment. It is in this regard that the government has enacted various laws to eliminate the problem of discrimination in various sectors in the society. One of such laws is the law against unlawful employment discrimination under Title VII (Biegel, 2011). The law controls discrimination in the work environment by promoting equal treatment to all workers in an organization. This study therefore looks at the issue of unlawful discrimination in the workplace and how it can be handled.

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Categories of Protected Individuals

To achieve its goals, Title VII provides protection to all individuals in an organization. The law ensures that individuals are protected against discrimination regardless of their skin color, age, gender, ethnicity, nationality or religion (Brown and Medoff 2008). These elements form the major issues that are used in promoting treatment of workers in a workplace. Under racial discrimination Title VII eliminates any practice which may lead to racial bias in an organization during hiring, training, payment or firing of employees (Noel, 2010).

The law also ensures that all individuals in an organization are given equal treatment regardless of their skin color. Racial discrimination in an organization may exist if the managers of the organization promote unequal treatment of the employees based on their skin color which consequently leads to racial bias. Racial discrimination is a violation of the provisions of Title VII on equal employment opportunities for all individuals. The other element which can be used as a basis of discrimination in an organization is age. Title VII promotes equal employment opportunities for all workers in an organization by eliminating the elements of age biases which may create tension among the employees based on age differences (Hatami and David 2007).

In addition to age, individuals are also protected from gender based discrimination whereby the law promotes equal treatment for all employees in an organization regardless of their sex. Other components of protection against discrimination include ethnicity, nationality and religion. To achieve this, the law ensures that all individuals are treated equally regardless of their religion, ethnicity and national origins (Brown and Medoff 2008).

Moreover, Title VII provides protection to specific categories of people in an organization which include the disabled people, pregnant women and protection against any form of sexual harassment (Jonathan, 2006). The violations against pregnant women may include forcing them to work under unsuitable conditions contrary to the labor laws. Violations against the disabled people may include forceful use of authority against them or forcing them to work under unsuitable conditions. Sexual harassment may include request for sexual favors in exchange of a job offer or promotion. The law therefore applies to remove all forms of violations that may occur due to racial bias, gender issues, ethnic affiliations, or unfair treatment to the disabled and pregnant mothers (Noel, 2010).

How to Solve Discrimination in the Workplace

Eliminating discrimination in the workplace requires an organization to establish the best strategies to solve the problem. The most successful strategy is establishment of a good organization culture which has good policies on the issue of discrimination. It is essential for an organization to develop clear and comprehensive policies on the issue of discrimination (Biegel, 2011).

The human resource policies in the organization should also embrace diversity. In this regard, the policies on selection, recruitment, training and firing of employees should embrace the element of diversity in the labor market. Embracing diversity enables an organization to attract employees from different backgrounds who may bring different ideas and skills important for innovation. The other point that is related to diversity is educating the management of the organization on the importance and the benefits of diversity in the organization (Noel, 2010).

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Continuous assessment of the employees’ needs is also an important step in eliminating discrimination in the organization. Employees feel recognized and develop a good self esteem when the management of the organization listens to their problems and provide relevant interventions where necessary. In such cases the employees are likely to turn to the management during difficulties rather turning to close friends or close members of their race, tribe, religion or gender. Finally, the most reliable method to solve discriminative practices in an organization is to follow all the laws of employment (Hatami and David 2007).

Liability for Discrimination under Section 703

Under section 703 of the Title VII, an employer with no discriminatory motives who fires an employee due to influence of another discriminative employee can be held liable for discrimination. Section 703 on unlawful employment practices states that an employer will be held liable for discrimination if instances of discrimination can be ascertained and proved (Biegel, 2011). The employer has been influenced by a discriminative employee to a fire a subordinate based on nothing but discriminatory grounds.

The employer has therefore deprived the subordinate’s employment opportunities based on discriminative influences from another employee. This practice is against the provision of section 703 which promotes equal employment opportunities by eliminating unlawful employment practices such as discrimination (Brown and Medoff 2008).


Biegel, S. (2011). Unfinished Business: The employment non-discrimination act and the K-12 education community. New York.

Brown, C., & Medoff, J. (2008). Trade unions in the production process: Journal of Political Economy, 86(3), 355-78.

Hatami, S., & David, Z. (2007). Educating the masses: Expanding Title VII to include sexual orientation in the education arena. Hofstra Lab.

Jonathan, S. (2006). Antidiscrimination or reverse discrimination: The impact of changing demographics, title vii, and affirmative action on productivity. Journal of Human Resources, 19(2), 145-174.

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Noel, U. (2010). Effects of U.S. equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs on women’s employment stability. Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, 26(2), 113-126.

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