Which type of discrimination was not established under the Civil Rights Act?

Whether you are an employer or employee, you've likely heard about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In fact, there are few employment laws out there as important as this one, particularly when it comes to allegations for workplace discrimination.

But if you don't know many of the specific details and nuances of the important legislation, don't worry, you're not alone. Fortunately, this article will cover some of fundamental concepts of Title VII, including who it protects, what it prohibits, and the possible claims employees may attempt to pursue under it. So, let's start with the basics.

What is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — and what does it prohibit?

Many people are surprised to learn that most jobs in the U.S. are considered "at-will" employment. This means that an employer can typically fire an employee for any reason they want — except an illegal reason such as unlawful discrimination — and that's where Title VII of the Civil Rights Act comes in.

Specifically, Title VII is the main federal law that prohibits employment discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Color
  • Sex, including gender, gender identity, pregnancy, and sexual orientation

This means that an employer cannot take an "adverse employment action" — such as firing, refusing to hire, demoting, refusing to promote, etc. — against an employee or potential employee based on any of these protected characteristics. If they do, the employee might have a discrimination claim.

You may notice that "age" or "disability" aren't one of the protected groups listed above and that is because older workers and disabled workers are actually protected under different federal laws — the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), respectively.

It's also important to note that individual states may create they own discrimination laws that might protect a wider range of employees than any of these federal laws, so employers should be aware of these laws as well.

Possible employee claims under Title VII

If an employee believes their employer has engaged in discrimination and other unlawful acts in violation of Title VII, there are several potential legal claims they may pursue, including:

  • Disparate treatment: Disparate treatment is the most obvious form of employment discrimination and it occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant differently than other employees because of their race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.
  • Disparate impact: This is when a seemingly neutral practice unduly impacts employees in a protected class, often unintentionally. For example, if employees must pass physical strength tests or meet a minimum height — requirements that appear neutral at first glance — it may still have a disparate impact on women or other protected groups. Assuming an employee can prove a disparate impact, the employer would be given an opportunity to show that the policy is necessary for the position and that no alternative policy/requirement would work.
  • Harassment: Under Title VII, there are two main forms of harassment claims, which include quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment.
  • Retaliation: Title VII prohibits an employer from retaliating against employees or applicants when they assert their rights under the law, including when an employee files a Title VII discrimination charge, opposes an employer practice that violates Title VII, or testifies or participates in a Title VII investigation or proceeding.
  • Negligence: A title VII negligence claim usually involves instances in which a co-worker gets an employee fired for discriminatory reasons by making negative or critical statements about the employee and the employer actually knows, or should have known, of the co-worker's discriminatory intentions.

Keep in mind, though, this is not an exclusive list of the potential claims an employer may face under Title VII, not to mention some employees may also attempt to bring additional claims under state law.

Before Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, an employer could reject a job applicant because of their race, religion, sex or national origin. An employer could turn down an employee for a promotion, decide not to give them a particular assignment or in some other way discriminate against that person because they were Black or white, Jewish, Muslim or Christian, a man or a woman or Italian, German or Swedish. And it would all be legal.


On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which protects against employer discrimination on the basis of "sex," applies to gay and transgender people. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the opinion for the six-member majority, said, "In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law."

What is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

When Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, employment discrimination on the basis of an individual's race, religion, sex, national origin or color became illegal. On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is also illegal. All companies with 15 or more employees are required to adhere to the rules set forth by Title VII, which protects workers as well as job applicants. The law also established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a bipartisan commission that is made up of five members appointed by the president. It continues to enforce Title VII and other laws that protect us against employment discrimination.

How Does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Protect You?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects both employees and job applicants. Here are some ways in which it does that, according to the EEOC:

  • An employer can't make hiring decisions based on an applicant's color, race, religion, sex or national origin. An employer can't discriminate based on these factors when recruiting job candidates, advertising for a job or testing applicants.
  • An employer can't decide whether or not to promote a worker or fire an employee based on stereotypes and assumptions about their color, race, religion, sex or national origin. They can't use this information when classifying or assigning workers.
  • An employer can't use an employee's race, color, religion, sex or national origin to determine their pay, fringe benefits, retirement plans or disability leave.
  • An employer can't harass you because of your race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
  • An employer can't discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make it illegal to discriminate against pregnant women in matters related to employment.

What To Do If Your Boss or Prospective Employer Fails to Abide by Title VII

As long as an employer makes no employment decisions namely, whether to interview, hire, pay, promote, provide opportunity, discipline, or terminate an employee based on any of the above protected classifications, the employer is living the intent and guidelines of Title VII. 

Still, just because a law is in place doesn't mean people will follow it. Fifty-five years after Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed, the EEOC received 72,675 individual complaints claiming multiple types of discrimination.

There were 23,976 charges of race discrimination, 23,532 charges of sex discrimination, 2,725 reports of discrimination based on religion, 3,415 claims of color discrimination and 7,009 based on national origin. If you experience discrimination at work or in the hiring process, use the EEOC Public Portal to submit an inquiry, schedule an appointment, or file a charge, or visit an EEOC field office in person.

Which of the following is not covered by the Civil Rights Act?

Which of the following is NOT covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but may be covered under other statutes? treating employees or job applicants unequally on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, or disability. this is prohibited by federal statutes.

What are the 3 types of discrimination?

Race, Color, and Sex For example, this Act prohibits discrimination against an Asian individual because of physical characteristics such as facial features or height.

What are the 4 different types of discrimination?

There are four main types of discrimination..
Direct discrimination. This means treating one person worse than another person because of a protected characteristic. ... .
Indirect discrimination. ... .
Harassment. ... .

Which of the following categories is not protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination based on race, religion, color, or national origin in public places, schools, and employment. However, discrimination based on sex was not initially included in the proposed bill, and was only added as an amendment in Title VII in an attempt to prevent its passage.