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State And Case Law

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State and Case Law Relationship

There was a time in history when the nation was focused on the civil rights of all Americans and equal protection of the laws. The movement to stop cultural, racial and other forms of discrimination produced laws protecting workers against discrimination in the workplace. Through judicial decisions and legislation, several federal statutes that prohibit employment discrimination were implemented. The most important statute was Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin and gender. (Alexander & Hartman, 2003, chap. 3, p.1) The objective of this paper will be to present examples of employment law cases for the different employment discriminations and identify the statute or regulation for each case.

Race and National Origin

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of race or national origin. (Alexander & Hartman, 2003, chap. 6, p.1) If a company's policy for selecting or promoting employees have the effect of discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of race or national origin, this is illegal unless the company can demonstrate a realistic qualification for the job in question. On August 11, 2004 the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Cracker Barrel after receiving allegations of race discrimination and racial harassment of African American employees. This case file was "EEOC v. Cracker Barrel Old Country" and was filed against the Matteson, Illinois restaurant under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Runkel, 2006) The director of the EEOC Chicago district office investigated the charges of discrimination of race and found there was reasonable cause to believe that Cracker Barrel violated federal law.


The next form of employment discrimination that will be discussed is religion. Title VII prohibits government employers, private employers and unions from discriminating against people because of their religion. (Alexander & Hartman, 2003, chap.10, p.1) An employer has to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of their employees, unless to do so would cause an undue hardship to the employer's business. For example, if an employee's religion prohibits he or she from working on a certain day of the week, the employer must make a reasonable attempt to accommodate these religious requirements. (Miller, 2001, para. 1, p.645)


Under Title VII employers are forbidden to discriminate against employees on the basis of gender. (Alexander & Hartman, 2003, chap.7, p.1) Employers are prohibited from classifying jobs as male or female unless the employer can prove that the gender of the applicant is essential to the job. In a case involving the Wal-Mart superstores, a lawsuit was filed against Wal-Mart in a Federal District Court under Title VII. Female employees received fewer promotions and less pay than the male employees. Promotions were shown to favor men at every major job category. Investigation also showed that male employees were selected for management training programs rather than the female employees, even though female employees comprised almost 80 percent of the hourly paid supervisors. The powerful evidence that was presented compels the claims to deserve class treatment. (Cohen, 2004)


Age discrimination is potentially the most wide spread form of discrimination because anyone, regardless of race, color, national origin or gender, could be a victim at some point in their life. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age against individuals forty years of age and older. (Alexander & Hartman, 2003, chap. 12, p.1) In a case involving Rhodes v. Guiberson Oil Tools, a man by the name of Calvin Rhodes was discharged in 1986 at the age of fifty-six. He was told that his discharge was due to the reduction in workforce and would be considered for reemployment when business picked back up. In the oil-field equipment business, suppliers depend entirely on the activities of oil companies in the field. If no one is drilling for oil then there could be economic slowing for the equipment suppliers. The possibility of lay offs at this time was not uncommon. Unfortunately, Guiberson Oil Tools hired a younger person to perform the same job six weeks later. Calvin Rhodes filed a suit in a federal district court under the Age Discrimination in Employment



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