Employment Discrimination

Affirmative Action and Sex-based Discrimination

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Employment Discrimination | 1 comment

Recent cases have addressed the issue of affirmative action in employment, which is essentially reverse discrimination based on sex or gender, race, or ethnicity. Affirmative action was an attempt by the government to right a wrong that had been in practice up to the late 1960s, when African Americans and women were not given equal opportunities in employment as everybody else.

Affirmative action was first used in the 1930s as a way to prevent discrimination against the hiring of unionized workers, and had nothing to do with gender or race. It was under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA), specifically Title VII, that the term “affirmative action” was used to mean as it is currently understood today, that is ensuring that minorities and women are given every leeway to get benefits, positions and wages that have been denied them prior to this law.

Early critics of the law alleged that the government was attempting to control how companies did business by imposing a quota in their hiring, and for government contractors this is partly true. But private companies are not required under the law to hire people based on anything save ability and capability.  That is primarily the purpose of Title the CRA, and all related laws including the Equal Pay Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and most recently the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

However, when affirmative action is carried too far, it can result in discrimination against non-minorities. In sex-based discrimination, this could take the form of the promotion of a woman over a more competent man for a position because of his gender. This may be considered a form of sex-based discrimination, and the basis for a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and compensation.  Consult with a sex-based discrimination lawyer to find out if your particular case merits legal action.

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