I. Civil Rights Act of 1866
This act protects
all persons from discrimination because of their race or
national origin. This
law was enacted shortly after the abolition of slavery but had
little effect for the first hundred years.
In the last twenty years, however, individuals have won
race discrimination suits under this act.
In 987, the Supreme Court ruled that Arabs and Jews
were protected under this law because they were
“perceived” as a race.
This law provides protection in situations not
specifically covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Unlike the 1964 Act, the 1866 allows individuals to use
for compensatory and punitive damages, which results in much
costlier settlements for employers.
Individuals also do not have to follow the time
requirements for filing that exist under the 1964 Act.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963
The Equal Pay Act
gives men and women the right to earn equal pay for doing
substantially the same work.
Protection from sex discrimination in wages is
guaranteed by this law. To correct the pay inequities, employers must raise the wages
of women to that of men.
If employers are found guilty of “willful”
discrimination, they may have to pay double or triple damages.
Pay differences that are legal under the Equal Pay Act
are also valid under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The 1964 Civil Rights
Act, as amended in 1972 and 1978, prohibits all forms of
discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or
national origin. Title VII, a section of that act, specifically prohibits
discrimination in employment.
Today, most discrimination charges are filed under
Title VII. It
has been subject to many differing interpretations by
employers, enforcement agencies, and the courts.
Title VII applies to all public and private employers
with fifteen or more employees and covers labor organizations
and employment agencies as well.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as
The ADEA, enacted
in 1967 and amended in 1978 and 1986, protects persons over 40
from discrimination on the basis of age in any terms or
conditions of employment.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 503 requires
firms holding federal contracts or subcontracts of $2,500 or
more to take “affirmative action to hire and advance in
employment” the disabled. Goals and timetables are not required.
Section 504 provides that “ no otherwise qualified
disabled individual in the United States shall, solely by
reason of disability, be excluded from the participation in
,be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination
under any program or activity receiving federal financial
VI. Vietnam Era
Veterans Readjustment Act of 1972 as amended by the Vietnam
Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974
The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act requires
firms holding federal contracts or subcontracts of $10,000 or
more to take “affirmative action to hire and advance in
employment” disabled Vietnam era veterans.
Goals and timetables are not required.
Order 11246 (1965) as amended by 11375
Executive Order 11246 prohibits employment
discrimination in the basis of race, color, religion, national
origin or sex in institutions or agencies with Federal
contracts of over $10,000.
Relevant contracts include both contracts for direct
services and “grants” which involve a benefit to the
Federal government. Institutions
or agencies covered under the Executive Order must observe
non-discriminatory practices in hiring, discharge, promotion,
wages, benefits, training, and all other conditions of
Revised Order No. 4, regulations implementing the
Executive Order, requires institutions or agencies with
Federal contracts of $50,000 or more and 50 or more employees
to develop written affirmative action plans with numerical
goals and timetables designed to correct underutilization of
minorities and women in the workforce.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law
in July 26, 1990. It
is an anti-discrimination statute that requires that
individuals with disabilities be given the same consideration
that individuals without disabilities are given.
Human Relations Act of 1955, as amended
The PHRA prohibits discrimination in employment because
of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or
disability status by public and private employers in the State
Veterans’ Preference Act
The Act creates a preference in Commonwealth
appointments and promotions for any “soldier”, defined as
any honorably discharged person who served in the armed forces
of the United States, or any women’s organization connected
with these forces, during any war or armed conflict, or who
has served since July 27, 1953.
Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act of
1961, as amended
This Act prohibits educational discrimination on the
basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin,
sex, handicap or disability.
Equality of educational opportunities requires that
students, otherwise qualified, be admitted to certain
educational institutions without regard to race, religion,
color, ancestry, national origin, sex, handicap or disability.
It is recognized that there is a fundamental American
right for members of various religious faiths to establish and
maintain educational institutions exclusively or primarily for
students of their own religious faith.
In such institutions students, otherwise qualified, be
admitted to certain educational institutions without regard to
race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, sex,
handicap or disability or, except as provided in Section 9,