Business Law Final Chapter 20 Employment Discrimination Important federal anti-discrimination laws include: The Equal Pay Act of 1963. Forbids pay discrimination against men and women based on gender. Differs from FLSA in that EPA protects administrative, executive, and professional employees. Plaintiff must show that she/he received lower pay than an opposite gender employee who performed substantially equal work for the same employer. Defenses (justifications for pay differentials) Seniority Merit system Quality or quantity of production Any factor other than gender (e.g. shift differentials) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (“protected classes”). Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces Title VII and other federal employment discrimination statutes. Procedures for private party civil actions: Plaintiff must file a claim with the EEOC within 180 days of the violation and wait for a “right to sue” letter from the EEOC before filing a lawsuit in court. If the EEOC has not acted within 180 days, the employee has the right to demand a “right to sue” letter, which certifies that the employee has exhausted his administrative remedies. Employee must file lawsuit within 90 days after EEOC issues a “right to sue” letter. Under the Act, it is illegal for an employer To fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, condition, or privileges of employment; or To limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee because of such individual’s race color, religion, sex or national origin. Sex Discrimination Two major categories of sexual harassment: Quid pro quo (“this for that”) involves a promise of job rewards in exchange for sexual favors, or threat of punishment for rejection of sexual requests. Hostile work environment is when an abusive environment is created by words or acts related to one’s sex (e.g., discussing sex, touching, comments on sexual attributes, offensive language, sexual photos displayed) Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Disparate Treatment (Intentional Discrimination) Disparate (different) treatment of employees results in unlawful discrimination when an individual is treated less favorably than other employees because of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex (“intentional discrimination”). Plaintiff must establish prima facie case (all required elements) for discrimination action. Burden of proof shifts to the employer to show that the employment decision was legitimate and nondiscriminatory (otherwise, plaintiff wins). If employer provides such proof, plaintiff must show that the challenged employment decision was actually the result of discrimination and that the employer’s reason was a pretext. Disparate Impact (Unintentional Discrimination) “Disparate impact” means hiring, promoting and firing practices that may not be intentionally discriminatory, but have the effect of discriminating against members of a protected class (e.g., rules regarding testing, height, weight). Do not have to employer intended to discriminate. Plaintiff must establish that a practice has a disparate impact on a protected class (statistical showing of the impact of the employment practice). Employer must show “business necessity” for the practice. If employer makes convincing argument, plaintiff may show that employer’s business needs could have been advanced by less discriminatory practices that the employer failed to adopt. Defenses to Title VII Claims Bona fide occupational qualification Where gender or religion is a genuine qualification for a particular job (defense not applicable to race, color, or national origin discrimination) For sex to be a BFOQ, the employer must demonstrate a high correlation between sex and the ability to perform a job function. Seniority Various merit defenses (e.g., system that measures earnings by quality or quantity of production, provided that system is organized, communicated and neutrally applied). Remedies for Title VII Violations Back pay accruing from date two years prior to filing of charges Front pay Compensatory and punitive damages in some cases Attorneys’ fees Rehiring, reinstatement, retroactive seniority Injunctions against defendant The Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Prohibits arbitrary age discrimination against employees who are 40 years of age or older. Ensures employees are evaluated on the basis of ability rather than age. Prohibits mandatory retirement for non-managerial workers. Entities covered: generally, employers with 20 or more employees. Procedures: charges must first be filed with the EEOC before bringing a private lawsuit. The Americans with Disabilities Act.