Civil Rights Act of 1964
THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
On July 2, 1964, President Johnson spoke the following words before signing the Civil Rights bill:
We believe that all men are created equal — yet many are denied equal treatment. We believe that all men have certain inalienable rights. We believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty — yet millions are being deprived of those blessings, not because of their own failures, but because of the color of their skins.
The reasons are deeply embedded in history and tradition and the nature of man. We can understand without rancor or hatred how all this happens. But it cannot continue. Our Constitution, the foundation of our Republic, forbids it. The principles of our freedom forbid it. Morality forbids it. And the law I sign tonight forbids it….
Generally, Title VII states: a) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer – (1) to fail or refuse to hire, or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of that individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. (b) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, or to classify or refer for employment any individual on the basis of his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Employment discrimination is covered by Title VI if the primary objective of the financial assistance is the provision of employment or education. Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In certain instances, differential treatment is allowed for religion, sex, or national origin if it is a bona fide occupational qualification. Sexual harassment is also prohibited under this law as are all forms of harassment based on membership in a protected class. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 also outlawed discrimination in voter registration, voting rights, and in public accommodations and/or businesses; gave the federal government jurisdiction over cases to enforce desegregation; and prohibited businesses with 25 or more employees from basing hiring decisions on race.
Barred unequal application of voter registration requirements, but did not abolish literacy tests sometimes used to disqualify African Americans and poor white voters.
Outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce; exempted private clubs without defining "private," thereby allowing a loophole.
Encouraged the desegregation of public schools and authorized the U. S. Attorney General to file suits to force desegregation, but did not authorize busing as a means to overcome segregation based on residence.
Authorized but did not require withdrawal of federal funds from programs which practiced discrimination.
Outlawed discrimination in employment in any business exceeding twenty five people and creates an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to review complaints, although it lacked meaningful enforcement powers.
What is the difference between Title VII and Title IX?
Title VII makes discrimination based on sex (as well as race, color, national origin, and religion) illegal in employment, while Title IX makes discrimination based on sex illegal in education. Title VII covers employees who work for schools but does not cover students at those schools; Title IX covers both students and employees in educational programs.
Time limits apply to sex discrimination claims under Title VII. You have 180 days, or six months, from the date of the last incident of discrimination to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This 180-day filing deadline is extended to 300 days if the charge also is covered by a state or local antidiscrimination law. Using internal procedures at your college or university does not extend the time limit under federal law, although it may under some state laws. To preserve your sex discrimination claim under Title VII, contact the EEOC to find out the time limit that applies to you. To preserve your sex discrimination claim under state law, contact the state fair employment practices agency in your state. You do not need an attorney to file a complaint with the EEOC.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. Specifically, Title VI provides that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." (42 U.S.C. Section 2000d).
Certain Remedies and Damages for Title VII Violations
1. Back pay is the most common form of relief. Back pay consists of wages, salary and fringe benefits the employee would have earned during the period of discrimination from the date of termination (or failure to promote), to the date of trial.
2. Compensatory Damages are allowed for future loss, emotional distress, pain & suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish & loss of enjoyment of life. Caps are placed on compensatory damages according to the size of the employer. These limits depend on how many employees the company has.
-Up to 100 employees: $50,000
-101-200 employees: $100,000
-201-500 employees: $200,000
-over 500: $300,000
These caps only apply to specific individuals. In a class action situation, each plaintiff can be awarded the maximum amount specified for the size of their company.
3. Attorney’s Fees are usually awarded to the prevailing party.
4. Punitive Damages are limited to cases where the "employer has engaged in intentional discrimination and has done so with malice or reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of an aggrieved individual."
5. Front pay is designed to restore victims to their "rightful place". It compensates the victim for anticipated future losses due to discrimination.
6. Injunctive relief is available when there is an intentional discriminatory employment practice. For instance, an employee can be reinstated and an employer can be ordered to prevent future discrimination.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 encouraged positive discrimation and allowed lawsuits against employers if their hiring had a "disparate impact" on women or minorities, even if there was no proof of discriminatory intent.
For more information on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, see