Discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment is illegal in the United States. Discrimination based on age, sexual orientation and disability may also be prohibited. A person who is denied employment or whose employment is terminated based on any of these reasons should talk to an employment discrimination attorney in order to established whether a legal action may taken against the individual or company in question.
Affirmative action, in the United States, includes programs to overcome the effects of past societal discrimination by allocating jobs and resources to members of specific groups, such as minorities and women. The policy was implemented by federal agencies enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and two executive orders, which provided that government contractors and educational institutions receiving federal funds develop such programs. The Equal Employment Opportunities Act (1972) set up a commission to enforce such plans.
The establishment of racial quotas in the name of affirmative action brought charges of so-called reverse discrimination in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, the federal government's role in affirmative action was considerably diluted. In three cases in 1989, the Supreme Court undercut court-approved affirmative action plans by giving greater standing to claims of reverse discrimination, voiding the use of minority set-asides where past discrimination against minority contractors was unproven, and restricting the use of statistics to prove discrimination, since statistics did not prove intent.
The Civil Rights Act
of 1991 reaffirmed a federal government's commitment to affirmative action, but a 1995 Supreme Court decision placed limits on the use of race in awarding government contracts; the affected government programs were revamped in the late 1990s to encompass any person who was “socially disadvantaged.” In the late 1990s, in a public backlash against perceived reverse discrimination, California and other states banned the use of race- and sex-based preferences in state and local programs. A 2003 Supreme Court decision concerning affirmative action in universities allowed educational institutions to consider race as a factor in admitting students as long as it was not used in a mechanical, formulaic manner.
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