Employment Discrimination (Great American Court Cases)
Historically, an employer and employee had a strict "at will" relationship. That is, the employer could reject a job applicant or demote or discharge an employee for no reason or for any reason whatsoever, including a motive to discriminate on the basis of age, disability, race, religion, or sex. The employer was even free to implement a discriminatory wage scale. In turn, an employee was entitled to quit at any time for any reason or for no reason. Employees were afforded some relief with the rise of unionism. An employer that was bound by a collective bargaining agreement could discipline or fire an employee only in accordance with the terms of the agreement. However, even the unions were accused of practicing discriminatory representation methods. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, which bans employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex as to the payment of wages. With a few exceptions, this law requires employers to pay equal wages for equal work.
Congress subsequently enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had a profound impact on employer-employee relationships. It prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the grounds of color, national origin, race, religion, or sex. The term "sex" encompasses pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. More specifically, Title VII forbids...
(The entire section is 1940 words.)
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