Essay Sample on Employment Law - Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Published: 2022-11-04
Essay Sample on Employment Law - Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Employment law
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1043 words
9 min read

We often hear about rights and non-discrimination and most human resource personnel have at least a basic knowledge of employee rights in the workplace. However, when it's put into perspective, what exactly does the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act mean? It is arguably the most commonly referenced law that relates to non-discrimination in the workplace, hence it is important to understand what it entails. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is therefore a federal law that prohibits employee discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, color, social status, nationality, and religion.While non-discrimination is a significant policy for any institution, the law does not necessarily apply to every employer. Generally, to be the subject of the Act, an employer must have fifteen or more employees regardless of whether the company is private or governmental (Miller, 2015). Title VII also applies to both private and government-owned universities, colleges, employment agencies, and labor organizations. Additionally, Title VII is not only limited to employee discrimination, though that is the principal purpose of the Act. Discrimination is forbidden in any employment action in areas such as hiring, layoffs, determinations of pay, employee classification, promotions, performance evaluations, discipline, benefits (including retirement, vacation, and bonuses), and access to training and other developmental programs. Prohibition can take many forms: it can be based on stereotypes about these group of people, it can be based on being allied to a member of a protected class. Also, it's important to note that the act applies not only to direct discrimination but also in situations where an implemented policy may see impartial but has a disproportionate impact on members of the protected groups.

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Disparate impact and disparate treatment are both discriminatory practices. The difference is that disparate impact is unintentional while disparate treatment is intentional discrimination (Davis, 2018). Disparate impact occurs when a company's policies inadvertently result in discrimination against employees who are in a protected class. This takes place when the protected groups are negatively impacted more even though the policy appears to be neutral. For instance, if you test all applicants and eliminate a certain group based on the results of the assessment, that is a disparate impact. Disparate treatment, on the other hand, is purposefully treating individuals from a certain group in a way that leads to negative impact. For instance, during an interview when only women are deliberately singled out to perform a task, that qualifies as disparate treatment and therefore discriminatory. Both disparate treatment and disparate impact can occur in employment decisions such as hiring and firing among others. Human resource teams and other managers in an organization need to understand these terms and how to avoid the occurrence of discrimination. Also, it's important to note that disparate impact is likely to occur even if there is no intention to discriminate. In that capacity, organizations would be well served to evaluate their business policies to ensure they are not inadvertently discriminating.

"At-will" employment implies that a member of staff can leave a job whenever they want and employers can let go an employee for any reason without prior notice or warning. The intent of this policy is to prevent unlawful termination and employment lawsuits between workers and their bosses (Handrick, 2018). "At-will" employment has two significant purposes: It allows workers and employers to work together without long-term contracts. This means an employee is free to leave if they do not like a job or if they get a better opportunity elsewhere. Also, an employer is free to change employee wages, benefits or let someone go. The second purpose is that it can be a defense for bosses in an unlawful termination. Most managers hope to never defend themselves in a court of law for terminating an employee's contract. However, as an employer, if a disgruntled worker sues you for termination, the legal doctrine of at-will employment mat protect you.

There are four exceptions that undermine at-will employment policy, they include:

Public policy exception-which recognizes that there are numerous governmental laws and policies that protect employees. These doctrines may void employment-at-will from being used as a defense mechanism in an unlawful termination suit. One of the primary ways in which this comes into play is with the anti-discrimination employment laws. You cannot fire an individual based on their race, gender, age, social status, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Covenant of good faith-this means that the employer and employee have to be just and straightforward with each other. Neither of them should undermine the other's rights or benefits.

Written or implied employment agreements-some bosses provide contracts which outline employee duties and work structure. As such, use of certain language in the agreements can undermine at-will employment. In that regard, it is important to add a clause to the contract clarifying that employment is at will.

Trade unions and bargaining units-unions and bargaining units often have their contractual language, workers in those institutions are not subject to employment at will. Classically, trade union contracts contain clauses that clarify the circumstances under which an employee is to be terminated, how they are to be informed and compensation upon termination.

Typically, no human resource professional gets into the industry with the intention of firing or terminating an employee's contract. However, it is a necessary evil at the workplace. Therefore, there are several significant steps that employers should follow before they let go the employee. This includes: pinpointing the exact reasons for termination, setting up a termination meeting, providing information on the final pay and benefits, ensuring the meeting is private, handling any potential conflict and notifying the relevant department.

Overall, Title VII is a doctrine that relates to non-discrimination in the workplace. It specifically the prohibits employee discrimination the basis of the gender, race, nationality or religion. As such, it allows workers and employers to work together without long-term contracts bearing in mind that the either one of the group can terminate the contract at their free will.


Davis, J. (2018, February 21). Disparate treatment versus disparate impact. Retrieved from

Handrick, L. (2018, January 8). At will employment doctrine: How it works & 4 big exceptions. Retrieved from

Miller, B. (2015, March 24). What is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? Retrieved from

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