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Workplace Fairness: it's everyone's job
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Although some of the worst employment discrimination was eliminated by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws, there has been strong resistance to enforcement of existing laws and political opposition to remedial affirmative action. As discrimination has become more subtle and more difficult to identify and correct, many Americans continue to endure unfair and unlawful discrimination in the workplace.

Cartoon by Clay BennettSome of the most overtly discriminatory employment practices in the American workplace were eliminated by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other antidiscrimination laws. However, there has been strong resistance to enforcement of existing laws, and there has been politicized resistance to remedial affirmative action. Discriminatory employment practices have become more subtle and more difficult to identify and correct, while the American workplace continues to reflect unfair and unlawful discrimination.
Forty years ago, the 1964 Civil Rights Act was enacted to eliminate deeply entrenched patterns of employment discrimination against persons because of their race, religion, sex, or national origin. In 1967, Congress prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of age and, in 1990, prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of disability. Following the lead of the federal government, states enacted laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability, and some state and local governments prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
the facts:Although discrimination against African Americans was the primary reason for enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, African Americans have faced the stiffest opposition in their attempts to obtain fair and nondiscriminatory treatment in the workplace. Overt discrimination, reliance on false and negative stereotypes, and subconscious bias pervasively limit the ability of African Americans to obtain fair treatment in hiring, evaluations, promotions, and other aspects of employment. Members of other racial and national origin groups, especially those identifiable by facial features or skin color, face persistent discrimination similar to that faced by African Americans.
More progress has been made for women, but most women continue to work in jobs stereotyped as female jobs, and women in nearly all job categories receive less pay than males in those job categories. Women face limits on promotion to high level management positions because of conscious and subconscious sex bias, and continue to experience sexual harassment on the job despite increased employer awareness of an employer’s obligation to take preventive and corrective action. Pregnant women suffer from discrimination in hiring, promotion, and job performance evaluation because of false assumptions about their ability to work, and women with family care giving responsibilities are disadvantaged by employer insensitivity to the family responsibilities of their employees. Women of color are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in the workplace because they face a combination of racial and gender barriers.
Despite federal and state laws prohibiting employment discrimination based upon age, older workers often are evaluated on the basis of false and negative stereotypes, and suffer disproportionately when employers lay off workers. Older workers who lose their jobs have difficulty obtaining comparable employment, and often must accept new employment at a much lower level of pay and responsibility.
Workers still face persistent patterns of employment discrimination based upon religion, disability, and sexual orientation. Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based upon religion, but religious discrimination persists, and employers have a very limited obligation to accommodate the religious observance needs of employees. Federal and state laws protect persons from discrimination on the basis of disability, but overt bias and false assumptions about the employment ability of disabled persons result in the denial of jobs to fully qualified disabled persons, and many employers resist their obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation to the needs of disabled persons, which seriously limits the ability of disabled persons to obtain acceptance and fair treatment in the workplace. No federal statute prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but some state and local laws recently have provided some level of protection from this type of discrimination. It remains true, however, that most gay and lesbian workers have no legal protection from even the most vicious forms of sexual orientation discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Workplace Fairness advocates a renewed commitment to the rapid elimination from the workplace of unfair and unlawful employment discrimination. Achieving this goal is necessary if the American workplace is to reflect American values of fairness and equal opportunity.
Short-Changed: America's workers are giving more and getting less

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