Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, sex (including pregnancy), origin, and religion in the work place. Title VII also prohibits harassment (sexual or otherwise) in the work place.
Who Does Title VII Apply To?
Title VII applies to any employer with 15 or more employees who have worked for at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or previous year.
Employers cannot discriminate against:
- Job applicants;
- Former employees; and
- Applicants or participants in training or apprenticeship programs.
It is important to note that independent contractors are not protected by Title VII.
What Does Title VII Protect Against?
Title VII protects against discrimination in any aspect of employment to include:
- Job assignments;
- Fringe benefits; and
- Any other term or condition of employment.
What Violates Title VII?
- National Origin Discrimination. Involves treating someone unfavorably because:
- They are from a particular country or part of the world;
- Their ethnicity or accent; or
- They appear to be of a certain ethnic background
- Race/Color Discrimination.
- Racial discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because:
- He/she is of a certain race;
- His/her personal characteristics associated with race; or
- Hair texture;
- Skin color; or
- Certain facial features
- Someone is married to (or associated with) a person of a certain race or color
- Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of their skin complexion
- Sex Discrimination. Involves treating someone unfavorably because of that person’s sex, gender identity (including transgender status); or sexual orientation
- Religion Discrimination. Involves treating someone unfavorably because of their religious beliefs or because that person is married to (or associated with) an individual of particular religion.
- Sexual Harassment. Includes:
- Unwelcome sexual advances;
- Requests for sexual favors;
- Offensive remarks about a person’s sex; and
- Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature
- Involves unwelcome conduct which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, that is based on:
- Sex (including pregnancy);
- National origin;
- Age (40 or older);
- Disability; or
- Genetic information.
Retaliation is Prohibited
Under the law, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, communicate with a supervisor or manager regarding the alleged discrimination or harassment, answer questions during an employer investigation, refuse to follow orders that would result in discrimination, resist sexual advances, request accommodations of a disability, or ask managers or co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages.