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Equal Employment Opportunity: Title VII Law & Regulations

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  • 0:01 Title VII Defined
  • 0:39 Covered Employers
  • 1:07 Protected Classes
  • 1:35 Prohibited Activities
  • 3:03 Enforcement
  • 5:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
One of the most important employment laws on the books is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In this lesson, you'll learn about Title VII, its regulations and how it affects human resources management. A short quiz follows.

Title VII Defined

Linus has just been hired as a new human resources specialist for a large manufacturing firm in Michigan. He's meeting with his manager, Mary, for orientation on employment laws that he must comply with when making employment decisions that affect employees. One of the most important laws that Linus must understand is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mary explains that Title VII prohibits covered employers from discriminating against certain classes of individuals in most employment-related matters.

Covered Employers

Linus asks Mary about the criteria that subjects an employer to Title VII. Mary explains that pretty much all private sector employers and local and state agencies are subject to the Act if they employ at least 15 employees. Since their company employs hundreds, it is definitely subject to Title VII. Unions and employment agencies are also subject to the Act.

Protected Classes

Since his company is subject to Title VII, Linus asks Mary who exactly is protected under the Act. Mary explains that Title VII is very comprehensive. It prohibits discrimination based upon:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • National origin

These categories are often referred to as protected classes under Title VII.

Prohibited Activities

Linus then asks Mary how Title VII will impact his job in human resources. Mary tells him that it will impact his job quite a bit. Mary explains that pretty much any employment decision that affects an employee is subject to the Act, including:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Layoffs
  • Training
  • Transfers
  • Promotion
  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • 'Any other term or condition of employment'

Mary notes that Title VII applies not only to employees but also job applicants. Discriminating against any protected class in taking any of these employment actions violates Title VII. Linus asks Mary for some examples, and she's happy to oblige:

  • It's a violation of Title VII to make a hiring decision based upon a person's race, gender, nationality or religion. This is even the case if customers do not wish to be served by members of a certain religion or race.
  • An employer violates Title VII if it promotes a man over a woman because of gender. You also can't provide different benefits or pay based upon gender.
  • Title VII generally will prohibit discriminating against people on religious grounds, such as refusing to hire because of religious dress or inability to work a specific workday due to religious beliefs.

Enforcement

Linus asks Mary about government enforcement. Mary replies that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII. She explains that the regulations outline a sequence of procedures that are followed:

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