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Title VII of the Civil Rights Act


Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Attorneys Representing Victims of Title VII Violations for Over 25 Years.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees and job applicants from discrimination and sexual harassment at work. Employers, CEOs, managers, supervisors, coworkers, clients, customers, and nonemployees are prohibited from taking negative (or adverse) employment actions based on specific characteristics (known as protected classes).

When your employer violates your rights under Title VII, you have the right to seek justice. You have the right to file a complaint without the fear of wrongful termination or other forms of retaliation. You have the right to demand a working environment free from harassment and discrimination.

You need an attorney who will work with you, advocating for your rights. Your lawyers should know how the law applies to your case. They should help you negotiate towards a fair and equitable settlement that will help you get back on your feet.

What Is the Background of the Civil Rights Act?

Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, the Civil Rights Act came on the heels of beloved President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Amidst civil strife and racial tension, the United States stood at a crossroads.

President Johnson carried on JFK’s legacy by signing the Civil Rights Act. The Act provided sweeping legal reform by prohibiting discrimination in various areas of American life. The most notably affected areas of life were employment and housing.

What Is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?

Title VII says, “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer…to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The Act provides protections for employees and job applicants against discrimination in the workplace due to protected classes. Title VII defines protected classes as characteristics shared by a specific group of people. Title VII protected classes include the following groups:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Sex/Gender (including sexual orientation and gender identity)
  • Religion

Title VII further prevents retaliation, such as wrongful termination, for employees who make complaints of discrimination in the workplace.

To process and litigate discrimination claims, Title VII authorized Congress to create the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC”). This organization is a federal administrative agency tasked with being the government’s right hand in the battle against employment discrimination.

What Was the First Case Heard by the EEOC Regarding Title VII?

The First complaint filed with the EEOC related to female flight attendants seeking protections under the new Title VII. These flight attendants claimed sexual harassment and gender discrimination at work.

Many people saw this complaint as a joke. The running gag was “Title VII is going to require the Playboy Club to give men the equal opportunity to don puff tails and silk ears and work as one of its scantily clad waitresses.” All jokes aside, that’s just what the law did.

Barbara Roads, the union leader for the flight attendants, walked into the EEOC with another blonde stewardess to file a complaint. The complaints included allegations of a ban on marriage, age discrimination, and weight tests.

The Airlines argued that businessmen would be discouraged from flying if they were forced to change their regulations. Martha Griffiths, one of only five female EEOC Directors, famously stated, “What are you running, an airline or a whorehouse?” Through hard-fought legal battles, the stewardesses won their case. This win provided teeth not only to Title VII but to the newly established EEOC.

What Does Title VII Protect?

Title VII protects employees and job applicants from being discriminated against on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, or creed.

Title VII applies to employers with at least 15 employees. It also applies to labor unions, employment agencies, and federal and state government employers.

An employee cannot be denied a position due to his status in a protected class. He cannot be denied for his association with a person within a protected class either.

Title VII also protects employees from any forms of retaliation, such as wrongful termination, demotions, or any other adverse employment actions because they decided to report violations of the law.

What Are Examples of Title VII Violations?

Anyone within a company, their clients, and nonemployees may commit actions of discrimination. Examples of Title VII violations include:

  • Making sexist comments that a woman belongs in the kitchen as opposed to an office.
  • Denying a job offer to an African American job applicant who is as qualified as the Caucasian applicant you hired.
  • Refusing to allow Muslims prayer time throughout the day.
  • Inappropriately grabbing male employees as they pass by your desk.
  • Sending emails with racist jokes to coworkers.
  • Insisting that all employees always speak English, even if it has nothing to do with their job tasks.
  • Indian clients refusing to work with an Indian employee because that employee is too dark.
  • Firing an employee because he reported discrimination to the EEOC.
  • Calling ICE against a Mexican job applicant instead of offering him a position.

How Is Sexual Harassment Addressed Under Title VII?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII. Sexual harassment is an unwanted request for sex, unwelcome physical contact, or unwanted sexual comments.

Sexual harassment creates two basic complaints: quid pro quo and a hostile work environment. Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer promises favorable treatment to an employee in exchange for sexual favors.

A hostile work environment occurs when an employer creates an environment that a reasonable person finds intimidating. The environment makes it difficult to continue daily tasks.

Contact a qualified sexual harassment attorney to learn more about how Title VII can protect your rights against sexual harassment at work.

What Remedies Are Available When You Experience Title VII Violations?

Title VII violations put victims in horrific circumstances. Many times, victims are left humiliated, without a job, and feeling hopeless. The courts understand this and want to help you receive relief. Remedies can include monetary relief, such as reimbursement of expenses, lost wages, and money for pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Relief can also include injunctive relief (court-mandated actions). Some examples of injunctive relief may include the reinstatement of employment and changes to company policies and procedures.

Does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act Protect Your Rights Outside of the Workplace?

Discrimination and sexual harassment can happen in many situations. The Civil Rights Act offers different sections to help fight discrimination and harassment in housing, public places, and more. Other laws can also prohibit discrimination in education.

However, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act specifically prohibits discrimination and sexual harassment in employment. Yet, Title VII will apply when discrimination or sexual harassment occurs at work-related events outside of the workplace. It also occurs when people work in a remote workplace through online harassment.

To help determine if Title VII can help your discrimination or sexual harassment claim, contact the Derek Smith Law Group’s experienced employment lawyers. They can help you find the proper law to help your discrimination or sexual harassment claim.

Contact our Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Lawyers Today!

Title VII is the basis for employment discrimination and sexual harassment protections in the workplace. If your employer violated your rights under the law, contact the dedicated attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group today!

The skilled sexual harassment and discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have years of experience litigating discrimination claims under Title VII.

Do You Have Questions About Your Rights Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? Please Contact Us with Your Concerns at 800.807.2209 or

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