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Discrimination in

Allan Kritsonis, PhD

Introductory Reflection
"My knowledge of my years in Ecuador was not enough
to prepare myself to understand who I will become in the
United States; a minority in a country full of laws and
contradictions. I married a good man who alleviated the
inevitable consequences of my heavy accent and skin
color. How? My husband is what you will call Hispanic
by race, but white by skin and appearance. As a result, I
found myself in a dilemma when a doctor let me choose
if I wanted my child to be label Hispanic or White

What is Discrimination?
In plain English, to "discriminate" means to distinguish,
single out, or make a distinction. In everyday life, when faced
with more than one option, we discriminate in arriving at
almost every decision we make. But in the context of civil
rights law, unlawful discrimination refers to unfair or unequal
treatment of an individual (or group) based on certain
characteristics. There are two types of discrimination; Direct
and Indirect.

Types of Discrimination
Direct discrimination

An example of direct discrimination is a job advert, which says "no disabled

people need apply." However, in reality discrimination often takes more subtle
forms. Thats why indirect discrimination is also covered.

Indirect discrimination

An example of indirect discrimination is requiring all people who apply for a

certain job to sit a test in a particular language, even though that language is
not necessary for the job. The test might exclude more people who have a
different mother tongue.

Title VII, 1964 Civil Rights Act

This law prohibits employment discrimination
based on:

National Origin

Age Discrimination In
Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
Protects employees or applicants 40 years of
age or older:

Cannot discriminate based on age with respect to any

term, condition or privilege of employment
Punitive & compensatory damages

Civil Rights Act 1972 Amendment

Sexual harassment is a:

Form of sex discrimination

Violation of federal law

Pregnancy Discrimination Act of


Amendment to Civil Rights Act

Unlawful to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy,
childbirth or related medical conditions

Americans with Disabilities Act

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all

employment practices
Employer must make accommodation to known
disability of qualified applicant or employee unless it
imposes undue hardship

Affirmative Action
The intended purpose of Affirmative Action is to
increase the opportunity for minority groups

You do not take a person bring him up to the starting line

of a race and say, 'you are free to compete with all the others,'
and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965

Employment Discrimination:
is a list of U.S. Supreme
cases involving

employees' rights and employment discrimination,

including links to the full text of the U.S. Supreme Court


Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971)

In this case, the Court decided that certain education
requirements and intelligence tests used as conditions of
employment acted to exclude African-American job
applicants, did not relate to job performance, and were

Employment Discrimination: U.S.

Supreme Court Cases

Cleveland Bd. of Ed. V. LaFleur (1974)

Found that Ohio public school mandatory maternity leave
rules for pregnant teachers violate constitutional guarantees
of due process.
Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986)
Found that a claim of "hostile environment" sexual
harassment is a form of sex discrimination that may be
brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Employment Discrimination: U.S.

Supreme Court Cases

Johnson v. Transportation Agency (1987)

The Court decides that a county transportation agency

appropriately took into account an employee's sex as one
factor in determining whether she should be promoted.

Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Serv., Inc. (1987)

In this case, the Court held that sex discrimination

consisting of same-sex sexual harassment can form the basis
for a valid claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of

Employment Discrimination: U.S.

Supreme Court Cases

Burlington Industries, Inc. Ellerth (1998)

Holding that an employee who refuses unwelcome and
threatening sexual advances of a supervisor (but suffers
no real job consequences) may recover against the
employer without showing the employer is at fault for
the supervisor's actions.
Faragher v. City of Boca Raton (1998)
The Court decides that an employer may be liable for
sexual discrimination caused by a supervisor, but
liability depends on the reasonableness of the
employer's conduct, as well as the reasonableness of the
plaintiff victim's conduct.

The Necessity of
Many people in this
country still, unfortunately,
are opposed to the ideal of equality
Any lack of enforcement of these laws gives more

power to such people

Although progress in achieving equality has been
made due to the laws, true equality has not yet
been reached, and can only be attained through
further diligence.

Civil Rights Act of 1991

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 made major changes in the

federal laws against employment discrimination enforced by
EEOC. Enacted in part to reverse several Supreme Court
decisions that limited the rights of persons protected by these
laws, the Act also provides additional protections. The Act
authorizes compensatory and punitive damages in cases of
intentional discrimination, and provides for obtaining
attorneys' fees and the possibility of jury trials. It also directs
the EEOC to expand its technical assistance and outreach

What Is EEOC and How Does It

EEOC is an independent federal agency originally created by

Congress in 1964 to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of

1964. The Commission is composed of five Commissioners
and a General Counsel appointed by the President and
confirmed by the Senate. Commissioners are appointed for
five-year staggered terms; the General Counsel's term is four
years. The President designates a Chair and a Vice-Chair.
The Chair is the chief executive officer of the Commission.
The Commission has authority to establish equal
employment policy and to approve litigation. The General
Counsel is responsible for conducting litigation.
EEOC carries out its enforcement, education and technical
assistance activities through 50 field offices serving every
part of the nation.
The nearest EEOC field office may be contacted by calling: 1800-669-4000 (voice) or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY).

The answer
I chose the Hispanic label for my children. I
realized that labels are merely justifications to our
own fears.
"An individual has not started living until he can
rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic
concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.