TheCivil Rights Act of 1964: Employment

In modern times, the most far-reaching bill on civil rights is theCivil Rights Act of 1964. It protects people from discriminatorydecisions that are made on the foundation of color, sex, race,religion and national origin. The Act’s major provisions includesbarring the discrimination of certain groups of people in publicaccommodations which affected the interstate commerce, expansion ofthe Civil Rights Commission and the extension of its life.Furthermore, the Act established the right to equality of opportunityin employment.

Civil Rights Act,Title VII, is the foundation of the laws against discrimination inthe workplace. Employment discrimination in any firm that receivedany federal funding was banned by the executive orders that wereissued under Title VII (DeCenzo, D. A., Robbins, S. P., &ampVerhulst, S. L. 2015). In order to administer Title VII, the 1964Civil Rights Act required a commission consisting of 5 members.Therefore, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) wasestablished. At the beginning, education, conciliation, outreach andtechnical assistance were the only areas EEOC could deal with as thiswas what the law permitted by then. In 1972, the EEOC was given theright by Congress to sue employers, unions, and employment agenciesin case any of them violated the Civil Rights Act, thus litigationbecame a focal point for the agency. Title VII was expanded byCongress to cover the federal, state and the local governments.

The amendment andexpansion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was done by a series oflaws over the years. The Act established EEOC to function ineradicating discrimination from the workplace (Wright, S. 2006).During the 1960s, the majority of EEOC’s work only involved racediscrimination. On the other hand, unless the employers had the samepolicy for men, the EEOC insisted that the employers could not havedifferent hiring policies for women for reasons that they werepregnant, had young children or that they were married (Wright, S.2006). Therefore, discrimination against a given sex was not allowedby this Act.

EEOC also issuedGuidelines on Sexual Harassment in places of employment in 1980 fromthe amendment of Title VII laws which was supported by the courts.The employers and supervisors were prohibited by the EEOC fromdemanding sexual favors from workers as it termed it as a provisionof “hostile work environment” since it affected ethics of theworkplace. The amendment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Congresswas followed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 (Conser,J. A. 2005). The 1972 amendment extended the provisions of the 1964law to the public employers who have 25 or more employers. Employersmust determine the knowledge, job skills and the abilities that arerequired for proper performance in a given position as per theanti-discrimination in employment law and the amended Title VII.

Criminalpenalties are provided by the Act for interference with any personapplying for, enjoying employment or related privileges. Thoseinterfering with a person’s use of hiring halls, labororganizations or employment agencies were subject to penalties. Basedon a bona fide occupational qualification, the enacted personnel lawallows for some discrimination (Conser, J. A. 2005). The act allowsfor the establishment of certain criteria in case they are proved tobe necessary for the operation of the business or agency. They arerestricted to apply only to sex, religion or national origin and noton the basis of color or race.


Conser, J. A. (2005).&nbspLaw enforcement in the United States.Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

DeCenzo, D. A., Robbins, S. P., &amp Verhulst, S. L.(2015).&nbspFundamentals of human resource management.

Wright, S. (2006).&nbspThe Civil Rights Act of 1964: Landmarkantidiscrimination legislation. New York: Rosen Pub. Group.