The Civil Rights Act and Title VII

December 18, 2018

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark legislation and one of the most important congressional laws in the history of the United States. The law was initially proposed by President John F. Kennedy and later signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Of particular importance is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII was initially enacted as a response to the racial tension of the times, but has since expanded to protect employees from any kind of discrimination in the workplace.

Title VII has a developed into what is likely the single most significant law in terms of legal protections for employees who experience discrimination in the workplace. Nonetheless, many employees in the American workforce are unaware of these protections and fail utilize the protections that are offered to them.

Your Rights Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Title VII explicitly prohibits discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, Title VII states that “it shall be an unlawful employment practice for any employer to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”

As such, Title VII prevents discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion or sex, in any aspect of employment. That includes, hiring and firing, employment benefits, recruiting, training, job transfer requests, promotion and demotion, retirement plans, employment leave and layoffs.

It is important to note that Title VII applies to any employee or applicant for a position at a company with 15 or more employees. Title VII does apply to employers with less than 15 employees.

What Steps Can You Take If Your Title VII Rights are Violated?

EEOC Administrative Charge

Another important tool for employees that was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is that of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). The EEOC was created in 1964 as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is the federal agency that is responsible for enforcing nearly all employment discrimination laws in the United States, including Title VII. The EEOC has a substantial impact on the way employment and labor laws are interpreted throughout the country and is an important tool for employees in the workplace.

If you feel as though your Title VII rights have been violated by your employer you can look to file an administrative charge with the EEOC. The EEOC will begin an independent investigation once an employee files an administrative charge through their offices. It is important to note that the EEOC may contact your employer or co-workers. Further, EEOC officers may make site visits to the workplace and conduct witness interviews. Generally, the average EEOC investigation take around 10 months. The length of an EEOC investigations depends on the complexity of the investigation, the size of the employer and the parties’ willingness to be cooperative in the investigation.

If the EEOC determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that the employee is being subjected to harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace, they will provide the complainant with a Right to Sue notice. This will permit the employee to proceed to court with proper representation. An EEOC investigation is necessary step prior to filing any sort employment harassment or discrimination lawsuit, otherwise your case will be immediately thrown out.

Contact an Employment Discrimination Attorney

Once you have been given a Right to Sue Notice from the EEOC, you can proceed with filing a lawsuit in the proper jurisdiction. At this point, it is recommended that you find an attorney who is experienced with labor law to assist you.

If an employee feels that they are being subjected to any form of harassment or discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin or ethnicity, in the workplace, then they should consult with an attorney who is experienced in labor law immediately. The laws governing racial harassment and discrimination are complex. There are strict regulations governing the process for filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, there are strict time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, as to when a lawsuit can be filed. The experienced attorneys at Shegerian Conniff are ready to hold your employer accountable, fight for your legal rights, and seek justice.  Click here to contact us today or call us at 310-322-7500 for a free consultation.