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CCS Training Module Four

Civil Rights Act and the ADA

Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment, because of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The law did the following:

  • Prohibited racial discrimination in any public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce.
  • Enforced public school desegregation.
  • Withdrew federal funding from any institution or program that endorsed discrimination.
  • Outlawed all employment discrimination.
  • It ensured equal voter registration.
  • Established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to monitor any violations.

Role of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

  • Responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
  • Has the authority to file a lawsuit to protect the rights of individuals and the interests of the public.
  • Works to prevent discrimination before it occurs through outreach, education, and technical assistance programs.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  • Prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. It applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure, layoff, fringe benefits, and all other employment-related activities.
  • The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations.

Who is Protected?

  • Employment discrimination is prohibited against qualified individuals with disabilities. This includes applicants for employment and employees.
  • An individual is considered to have a “disability” if s/he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  • Has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.
  • Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with an individual with a disability also are protected.

Who is a qualified individual with a disability?

  • Is an individual who meets legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of an employment position that s/he holds or seeks, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to …

  • Making existing facilities accessible.
  • Job restructuring/modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position.
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training, materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.
  • Reduced/modified work schedules.

Accommodations vary depending upon the need of the individual applicant or employee. Not all people with disabilities (or even all people with the same disability) will require the same accommodation.

Undue Hardship

  • An employer does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation if it imposes an undue hardship.
  • Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.
  • Determined on a case-by-case basis.

Reasonable Accommodations:

  • Reasonable adjustments made by an employer to a job or work environment that make it possible for an individual with a disability to perform job duties.
  • Determining whether to provide accommodations involves considering:
    • Required/essential job tasks.
    • Job-related limitations imposed by the disability.
    • Level of hardship to the employer.
    • Effectiveness of potential accommodations.
    • Preferences of the individual with a disability.

Requirements of Employers

  • Employers are required to accommodate a known disability of an employee.
  • Employers cannot ask if you are disabled or ask about the severity of your disability.
  • Employers cannot require you to take a medical examination before hiring you unless this a requirement for all new hires.

What do I do if I think I am being discriminated against?

  • If you think you have been discriminated against in employment on the basis of a disability, you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  • Need to file a complaint within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.

What to do:

  • If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), nation origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information:
    • File a Charge of Discrimination first with the EEOC.
    • Generally have 180 days to file a complaint from the day the discrimination took place.