Title VII was passed on Jul 2, 1964, as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which the US Congress enacted to end discrimination in employment, voting processes, and public facilities. To this day, many Americans reap the benefits the foundational Civil Rights Act sowed. Despite this, many people are unsure of what exactly Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does and who it protects.
Title VII is a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but its specific intention was to outlaw discrimination against certain protected characteristics. Notably, it protects employees from being barred or fired from jobs for discriminatory reasons, even in at-will employment states. Before the Civil Rights Act was passed, employers could fire an employee for virtually any reason, creating a large employment gap among minorities and at-risk groups. Not only is it wrong morally, but the wild-west of employment wasn’t good for the economy. Now, employers are restricted in how they interview applicants, why they can hire or fire an employee, and how they’re supposed to treat them.
In its beginning, Title VII protected employees from being discriminated against on the basis of their age, sex, gender, ability, race, religion, color, and ethnicity. It’s no coincidence that the Civil Rights Movement gained serious traction less than a decade before the act passed. While the Civil Rights Movement was largely motivated and led by Black Americans, the movement aimed to end segregation and discrimination on all fronts.
It is important to note that Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
As times and viewpoints have changed, so has Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and amendments have been made in order to include and protect more people. For example, after The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was passed, Title VII was amended to protect pregnant employees. Additionally, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 added provisions to Title VII and expanded women’s rights, allowing them to collect damages for sexual harassment and discrimination.
Why does this all matter? It’s important for employees to know what Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does for them and who it protects. Those without knowledge are at the mercy of those who have it.
While legal protections for LGBTQIA+ members are still limited, people out there are willing to help. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against on the basis of who you choose to love, know that Title VII protects you, and so will we. Contact sexual orientation discrimination lawyer Tamara N Holder today to get the experienced and competent legal representation you deserve.