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The Civil Rights Act of 1991 - How Does its Changes Affect the Workplace? (Term Paper Sample)


The Civil Rights Act of 1991 - How its Changes Affect the Workplace Including content that pertains to how the act affects managers and the human resources department in general. Sources=6


The Civil Rights Act of 1991 - How Does its Changes Affect the Workplace?
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is a statute adopted in the United States objected to respond numerous decisions made by the US Supreme Court that limited the employees’ rights after they had sued their employers for being discriminated at work. It was the first Act in United States to be enacted to change the procedural rights provided by the federal laws in protecting the workers from discrimination phenomenon. This is since the enactment of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is because it provided the adequate rights to the employees to be heard in judicial framework on claims related to discrimination.
The Act limited the amount that could be awarded by jury after introducing the possibilities of emotional damages. This is after it upheld the earlier employment rights of granting the compensatory and punitive damages to the offended party. In other words, The Civil Rights Act of 1991 amended The Civil Rights Act of 1964, by making the discrimination illegal especially the claims based on gender, race, color, or even the religious creed. The Act also added its strengths in protecting the discriminatory victimizations in terms of age and disabilities by incorporating the 1967 Act on Age Discrimination in Employment and the 1990’s Act on American with Disabilities. Moreover, the Act was the first law in the United States to cover the American employees working outside America for the American firms. Unfortunately, the law failed to protect the employees from discrimination on sexual orientations or in businesses employing less the fifteen workers.
In other words, The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is law affecting the employment sector since it aims at protecting the employees by threatening businesses from any discriminatory acts. The threats are the huge penalties or costs to the businesses if the discriminatory claims are justified in judicial system by the injured party. However, this paper is objected to discuss the contents of The Civil Rights Act of 1991 in order to demonstrate the way its enforcement affected the management departments of many businesses. The essay also draws various scopes at which the working environment was generally affected by its enforcements.
The Act Predecessors
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 was a combination of both the Civil Rights Act of 1866, also known as Section 1981, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also called Title VII, which were enacted two centuries from each other. The two legislations approached the discrimination in employment very differently, although both were objected to solve the issue of inequality in employment sector.
Section 1981 only prohibited the discrimination based on color and race, whilst the Title VII prohibited the discrimination on aspects of religion, sex, and original nationality. Section 1981 allowed plaintiffs in discrimination cases to seek their rights of being compensated on damages in courts. This is after the prohibition of discrimination cases remained unenforced and dormant with the Section 1981. The Title VII only provided the traditional remedies of equitabilities including reinstatement, back pay, and other injunctions against the discrimination acts in future. Fortunately, the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 brought the expansion of available remedies to the victimized party of discrimination by allowing the jury to awards the attorneys’ fees.
The amendments made by the Congress in 1972 helped to broaden its coverage, to enforce the notions offered by the Act. However, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was an effort to overhaul the contents of Title VII in order to harmonize it with the Section 1981 (Cheng, 1998). This was to avoid the instances of using both Acts by the Supreme Courts, which resulted to decisions not benefiting the discriminated workers.
Among the major cases was Patterson v. McLean Credit Union where the Supreme Court held that the employee had no jurisdiction to sue the employer based on racial discrimination and harassment at work place. The court said that the conduct of the employer could not be justified to be discriminatory because the employee could not have been given an opportunity to work in the company if the act persisted (Greely, 1991).
Another major case was Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio of 1989 that made it difficult to prove the personal practices of the employer by the employees. The decision of the Supreme Court in the case said that the employees must identify the particular requirement or policy that leads to inequality in the workplace instead of judging the employer’s personal practices on their face (Hero & Preuhs, 2013).
Such cases brought many controversies among the employees in seeking redress of the court in their effort to fight for their rights from employers. This pressured President Bush to vet a bill seeking to end such judicial hick ups in 1990, although he feared that the bill could lead to imposition of racial hiring quotas (Devroy, 1990). The bill was later approved in 1991 called Civil Rights Act of 1991.
Impacts of the Act on Work Place
There are various changes, which were brought by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 that aimed to enforce and maintain a non-discriminatory work place. The case of Patterson v. McLean Credit Union attracted numerous critics since it left the employees with nowhere to seek their justice after being discriminated at work. The victimized employees by racial harassment were left with no remedies since they could not give the required prove the existence of the discrimination acts or any other violation of Section 1981. They could also rarely demonstrate any loss of wages on the matter, as provided under the 1964’s Act. The “make and enforce contracts” phrase in Section 1981 eliminated any liability for any loss of promotion or even decisions of hiring employee or not on the consideration of color or race.
However, the definition of the “make and enforce contracts” phrase was addressed by the Congress by changing it to include new clauses. Such clauses was aimed at considering the performances, modification and termination of the contract by giving enjoyments of all terms, benefits, privileges, or other conditions in the contract. The Congress also made clarifications that the Section 1981 was applicable to both the public discrimination and the private one.
In the employers view, the human resource management team became curious of the laws, since they were supposed to act carefully on the matters concerning the employees and the enforcement of the laws adopted to govern the company. The human resource managers need to formulate the contractual agreements with care, especially on the one related to termination of contracts or employing a new employee.
The Congress also responded to the decisions made on Wards Cove case, which made it difficult for employees to prove discriminatory claims on their employees, as provided under Title VII. Therefore, the Congress amended the Act by giving provisions that the employees can prove their case under the Wards’ aspects by exhibiting the personal practices of employers. The practices shown must be the one steering the discrimination impacts based on color, race, sex, religion, or original nationality. The verdict must also consider the demonstrations of the respondent to exhibit if such practice is required or necessary to his or her business. This makes the business managers to change their perceptions on the employees to having a good operational approach in order to avoid the negative practices that can result to court battles. The reason for careful supervision at work for the managements is the hefty compensatory fine that may result if sued by the employees. Such huge fines shaped the employer-employee relationship by having a favorable approach towards one another in order to eliminate any discriminatory perceptions towards each other.
The human resource management was also changed at large by protecting the employees’ rights from being victimized by other departments such as operation. This is to avoid the arousal of any possible impact in future that may cause the company to lose millions This is especially if the victimized workers file a petition in court. In this case, the human resource department was empowered to recruit, evaluate, or promote the employee based on productivity and skills but not according to race or other disparity impacts.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 generated shock among the business platform after its enactment, while satisfying only the employees and civil groups, who wanted the 1964s Civil Rights Act. The law oppressed the business managers, especially the human resource department. This is because the Act was adopted in unprecedented aspect, as it only proposed penalizing discriminatory practices in employment considerations, even if there is no harm caused to the plaintiff. The employees were seen to benefit from the Act since they can sue the employer if by any case directs or decides a matter that was perceived to be discriminatory even without any intent of doing so. However, many businesses steered to the decrease of revenue collections, as their operations were largely hit by the leading to greater loss (Chlopecki & Ellen, 1997)
The severe penalties targeting to punish employers, as stipulated in the Civil Rights Act of 1991 for discriminatory cases may not be unfavorable in some specific circumstances. This is because in some cases where employee sues an employer, they base their evidence on the gender difference as a factor in employment action, citing the discriminatory practice (Feltes et al., 1993). In such case, the employer is deemed to lose the case, as the Civil Rights Act of 1991 defines well on th...
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