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Statute And Case Law Relationship

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The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been set in place to protect individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race, color, national origin, and religion. All organizations consisting of 15 or more employees must abide by Title VII. This includes organizations such as state and local governments, employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. Under this act it against regulations to show prejudice against any employee or applicant for employment due to his/her sex in regard to hiring, promotion, compensation or privilege of employment. Also employment decisions that are based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, or the performance of individuals on the basis of sex are prohibited.

Although this law has been established, many companies both large and small face lawsuits accusing them of gender discrimination. An example of such a case is Dukes v. Wal-Mart, Inc. in which seven Wal-Mart employees filed a class action law suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In this suit the women claimed that Wal-Mart, Inc. allegedly discriminated against females by paying them less than men in comparable positions. They further claimed that they received fewer promotions to management positions than men. Also the ones that were promoted had to wait longer to advance. "They asked a federal district court in California to certify a nationwide class action, and presented three types of evidence to the court: evidence of companywide policies and practices, statistical and social sciences evidence, and anecdotal evidence from women alleging specific instances of discrimination. On June 21, 2004, the district court certified the largest employment class action in history, consisting of 1.5 million women who worked in 3,400 Wal-Mart stores across the country. Wal-Mart appealed the class certification order to the Ninth Circuit. (Employment Briefing Alert, 2007)

Clearly there exists a relationship between Dukes vs. Wal-Mart, Inc. and Title VII. The act clearly states that it is "unlawful for an employer to hire or discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his/her compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment, because of an individual's race, color, religion, sex or national origin." (E L It was in the opinion of the Ninth Circuit panel that the plaintiffs provided sufficient evidence that displayed that Wal-Mart personnel and management structure across the nation were blameworthy of an extensive oversight of store operations by the company headquarters. Furthermore the evidence supported that company policies regarding wages and promotion assessments consisted of gender-related disparities and specific evidence of gender stereotyping. "Together this evidence raises an inference that Wal-Mart engages in discriminatory practices in compensation and promotion that affect all plaintiffs in a common manner." ( 2007) The actions of the company are a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was first introduced it primarily focused on the African American movement. An example would be the In Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964), "the Court established beyond challenge that no person can be excluded, because of race or color, from any facility that is open to the general public. Further, the Court has upheld programs of employers to emphasize recruitment of racial minorities that have suffered from the employer's racial discrimination in hiring in the past." (, 2007) The African-American civil rights movement cases has paved the way for other groups searching to end discrimination against them, such as women, Hispanics, gays, and the elderly. These groups, too, have tried to bring about favorable legislative acts and judicial decisions.

This led to the wave of affirmative action programs in the 1980's and 1990's. These programs were designed for individuals or groups who felt they had been victims of discrimination. Affirmative action was viewed as a temporary pathway to overcome the destructive consequences of discrimination in the past, which unjustly deprived opportunities to some individuals. In 1991 congress passed an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This amendment is known as the Civil Rights Act of 1991. This amendment's purpose was to strengthen the scope of federal civil rights protections "which had been weakened by the Supreme Court's decision in Ward's Cove Packing Company v. Atonio (1989). In the Ward's Cove decision, the Court determined that those claiming discrimination by employers had to prove that a specific employment practice had been discriminatory. Even if the plaintiff were to provide the proof required, the employer could still claim that the discriminating practice was necessary to maintain his or her business." (, 2007)

When the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was passed, it overturned the decision of the Ward's Cove case. It made it illegal for companies to claim "business necessity" as a means to justify intentional discrimination against individuals based race, color, genderÐ'...etc. Furthermore, it protects workers against any racial



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