The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed in reaction to the civil rights movements during the 1960s. This law addressed the problem of discrimination in education, public accommodations, housing, and employment. Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to different institutions and offer different protections to people. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand which of these laws might apply to your situation when you have been the victim of illegal discrimination based on your protected status.
What does Title VI cover?
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on color, race, or national origin by any institution, activity, or program that receives financial assistance from the federal government. This title covers employment discrimination when the federal government provides financial assistance to an institution to provide employment. It also covers situations in which employment discrimination results from providing services under the federally-funded programs.
If a federally-funded institution or program is found to have engaged in discrimination, it will be asked to come into voluntary compliance. If that is not possible, the agency that provided the federal assistance can start proceedings to terminate the institution’s or program’s federal assistance. It can also refer the case to the U.S. Department of Justice for legal action.
People who have been the victims of discrimination based on their color, race, or national origin by an institution or program that receives federal assistance can file administrative complaints with the agencies that provided the federal funds to the institution or program. They can also file lawsuits in federal court. Intentional discrimination based on color, race, or national origin is explicitly prohibited by programs and institutions that receive federal assistance. However, most of the federal agencies the provide federal funds have regulations that also prohibit recipients of federal assistance from engaging in practices that disparately impact people based on race, national origin, or color.
What does Title VII cover?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin, color, sex, race, or religion. This law’s prohibition against sex discrimination at work also includes prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy status. Sexual harassment and harassment based on a person’s other protected characteristics is also prohibited under this law.
Title VII also prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against employees who file discrimination complaints, testify or help in an investigation under Title VII, or oppose workplace practices that violate this law. People can file retaliation complaints when their employers engage in retaliatory actions against them even if the underlying discrimination charges are found to be unsubstantiated.
Title VII is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Before someone can file a lawsuit in federal court against an employer, he or she must first file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. Before filing a charge with the EEOC, the person should first file an internal complaint with the employer’s human resources department or follows a different procedure established by the company. This is meant to give the employer a chance to correct the situation.
A discrimination charge must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the discriminatory action or within 300 days in states that have agencies with longer times. Once a discrimination charge is filed with the EEOC, the agency will investigate. The agency can decide to pursue action against the employer or can instead send a notice to the individual allowing him or her to file an action in court against the employer.
Civil rights actions under Title VI vs. Title VII
In Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001), the U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VI includes an implied private cause of action for individuals against institutions and programs that receive federal assistance for intentional discrimination. The court has held that individuals do not have a private right of action to file suits based on disparate impact discrimination under Title VI, however. By contrast, Title VII allows people to file claims against employers for employment discrimination based on either disparate impact or intentional discrimination. Title VII also protects people based on more statuses than Title VI. People who file employment discrimination claims against their employers normally pursue claims under Title VII.
Talk to the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler
If you have been the victim of employment discrimination based on your protected characteristics, you may be entitled to recover damages. To learn more about your rights, contact the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler for a free case evaluation by calling us at 856.685.7420.