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In 1964, the nation’s leader Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. The Act banned discrimination in public facilities, ensured school integration, and made discrimination at work unlawful. The document was regarded as the largest-scale civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction Era. During his tenure, Kennedy urged Americans to take radical measures to guarantee the equality of all citizens regardless of their race and origin. The leader proposed to elaborate a civil rights legislation that would protect the right to non-discrimination in federal programs, people’s voting rights, public accommodation, and desegregation in schools.
The passage of the Civil Rights Act banned discrimination at work because of gender or race and finally eliminated segregation. It is deservedly considered as the greatest and most successful legislative achievement of the 20th century. The Congress expanded the law and passed additional legislation aimed at providing equality to black people and minorities. Under the crowning legislation, segregation on the basis of religion, race, or status was barred at such places of public accommodation as hotels, courthouses, theaters, sports arenas, and restaurants (Mayer, 2004). No longer could African Americans be denied services based on their skin color. Moreover, the act banned gender and origin discrimination by labor unions and employers.
I chose the Civil Rights Act since the continuous fght for equality deeply affected the American nation. I also consider it as the most important achievement of the Congress as the law guaranteed constitutional rights for minorities in the USA. Despite the fact that the Constitution ensured these rights, the legislation had never been completely enforced. The U.S. policymakers started to act resolutely and finally passed the laws after long years of massive protests and demonstrations.
In 1971, the American Supreme Court examined the Griggs v. Duke Power Company case that was later described as a landmark case regarding employment discrimination. The Court ruled that the Seventh Title of the mentioned Civil Rights Act prohibited not only intentional discrimination at work, but also employers’ discriminative practices against women and other minorities. The Court ruled that doubtful employment practices at the Duke Power disproportionately deprived African Americans of work and prohibited them since the tests were not related to job.
The unanimous Court’s ruling in Griggs v. Duke Power undoubtedly transformed workplaces in America. The Supreme Court issued a powerful legitimate tool with the disparate impact. It has proved a necessity to eradicate unnecessary, arbitrary barriers and provide equal opportunities for all people, regardless of origin. The Court held that the requirements of employment were not relevant to the applicant’s ability to perform his/her duties at work and, therefoore, they were discriminative against black workers. The Act required eliminating all artificial barriers to employment that invidiously discriminated citizens on the grounds of their race. Employment practices enforced to exclude black employees cannot be related to the work performance. The Court declared that illegal Duke’s practice helped to protect its long-standing policy of providing preferences for employment to white workers (Belton, 2014).
The Court concluded that the company’s practices disproportionally affected black employees since each of them was less likely to get a degree with a low average score in the test. In cases when employment practice had disproportionate effects on minorities, the Court ruled that business should demonstrate and prove the necessity of this practice with no ulterior motives. The landmark case inaugurated the conception of disparate impact into the anti-discriminative law discourse.
I think that the Court’s decision was a sign of how far the political pendulum could swing to the right in the 20th century. Justice Berger who examined a lawsuit is likely to be considered as moderate in the today’s Supreme Court. In reality, it is hard to recognize that modern conservative justices would join Burger in his view. The Griggs v. Duke Power case helped to legitimize the disparate impact theory and forced employers to pay attention to their employment practice and relation to gender, origin, and race.