Federal Employment Law

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the bases of race and color, as well as national origin, sex, and religion. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

Equal employment opportunity cannot be denied any person because of his/her racial group or perceived racial group, his/her race-linked characteristics (e.g., hair texture, color, facial features), because of his/her marriage to or association with someone of a particular race or color or because of that person’s religion. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups. Title VII's prohibitions apply regardless of whether the discrimination is directed at whites, Asians, blacks, Latinos, Middle Easterners, or persons of any other race, color, or ethnicity. Title VII also prohibits denying an employee or an applicant opportunities or discriminating against him/her due to her/his religion.

It is unlawful to discriminate against any individual in regard to recruiting, hiring and promotion, transfer, work assignments, performance measurements, the work environment, job training, discipline and discharge, wages and benefits, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Title VII prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also neutral job policies that disproportionately affect persons of a certain race, religion or color and that are not related to the job and the needs of the business. Employers should adopt "best practices" to reduce the likelihood of discrimination and to address impediments to equal employment opportunity.