50 years of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

This last week marked 60 years of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 now known as Title VII that protects employees from discrimination on the basis of Race Color Sex National Origin and Religion. Prior to this Act there was little to no protection for employees.  Prior to this act there were typical “Help Wanted” ads seeking white males or stating that Blacks and Hispanics need not apply. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed in 1967 and prior to this act there were many adds seeking “young man” or “young woman”. These acts were designed to help protect workers and to change the attitude of the public. The first female to captain an American Airlines plane was in 1987, 20 years after the enactment of the ADEA. Southwest Airlines was successfully sued under Title VII to force them to allow males to be flight attendants. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1981 decided the case.  Southwest argued that it was a job qualification that a flight attendant had to female and that it’s customers preferred sexy females since their customers were mostly male businessmen. The Supreme Court stated that Title VII was passed to protect employees and to change the attitude of the public. Even if customers prefer a certain group an employer may not discriminate on employment. Attitudes towards discrimination have changed since 1964 but discrimination in El Paso and Las Cruces still exists and Title VII and the ADEA and their state equivalents were passed to ported workers and employees and prospective employees.

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