Racial Discrimination Laws In the U.S. and How They Impact On Businesses

Racial Discrimination Laws In the U.S. and How They Impact On Businesses Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: Abstract Racial discrimination is an issue that has taken its roots in the U.S. since history. Most ethnic groups in the U.S. especially the minority ethnic groups have witnessed all sorts of discrimination against them since history. Due to this, the U.S. remains one of the nations where most practices were profoundly embedded towards discrimination. Although racial discrimination has been an issue of concern in the U.S., several laws have been enacted to focus on the issue. Over the past few decades, the nation has taken measures to implement the enacted laws, policies and regulations that mainly focus on racial discrimination. Although the laws have assisted in fighting against racial discrimination, they have impacted much on different sectors of the economy. The business sector has not been left out. This paper presents a description of some of the specific laws in the U.S. that focus on racial discrimination and how these laws impact on the business sector. Introduction Discrimination is a term that has certainly grown to be among the significant terminologies within the English dialect. It is a terminology that has been used especially in history classes during lessons that expound on how the prehistoric civilizations were prejudiced and inequitable. The history of the U.S. remains one of the global histories that depicted most of the practices that were profoundly embedded towards discrimination (Wright, 2006). Most ethnic groups in the U.S. especially the minority ethnic groups have witnessed all sorts of discrimination against them since history. Ranging from the way in which the Native Americans were treated, to the slavery era where the African Americans were maltreated, to the feminism era when women fought for their civil rights, the U.S. history is packed with all forms of intolerance, predisposition and iniquitous treatment (Loevy, 1997). Since history, racial discrimination has been a major agenda to all civil rights groups. Most nations and civil rights movements have over the past decades continued to fight against racial discrimination in which various groups have been discriminated based on their gender, sex, religion, nationality, race as well as color (Loevy, 1997). It is due to this tattered past that the U.S. has over the past few decades enacted and implemented a number of laws, policies and regulations that mainly focus on racial discrimination. These laws have arguably impacted much on the economy of the nation with the huge impact being witnessed within the business sector (Wright, 2006). This paper presents a description of some of the specific laws in the U.S. that focus on racial discrimination and how these laws impact on the business sector. Racial Discrimination Laws in the U.S The investigation of racial discrimination laws in the U.S. as well as the impact that these laws has had especially to the business sector is very crucial. Owing to the impacts that racial discrimination has had particularly to America and generally to the world, a discussion of the racial discrimination laws in the U.S. becomes important. Within the history of the U.S., the major action towards racial discrimination was witnessed during the early years of 1960’s (EEOC, 2002). According to Loevy (1997), the 1960’s was a period when racial discrimination was at its heightened stages. However, it is still during this period when America was witnessing heightened activities of civil rights movements against racial discrimination (Loevy, 1997). The first major human rights bill that touched on the enactment of racial discrimination laws was presented before the legislature in 1960’s by J.F. Kennedy, the then President of America. This action formed the starting point for the legal and civil fight against racial discrimination (Loevy, 1997).Although the assassination of Kennedy occurred before the crucial racial discrimination bill was passed into law; Johnson Lyndon who succeeded him followed his feet and took the fight against racial discrimination. It was through the efforts of Johnson that the Civil Rights Act of 1964; a famous law against racial discrimination was passed (Wright, 2006). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is perceived as the first major law against racial discrimination to be enacted in the history of the U.S (Wright, 2006). According to Wright (2006), prior to the enactment of this act, several acts that promoted racial discrimination had existed based on the ancient Jim Crow Laws. Before this act, as denoted by Loevy (1997), many states in the U.S. had passed stringent statutes that promoted racial segregation even in the public schools. Moreover, before the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many business enterprises including various local, state and national employers had openly segregated individuals from the black ethnic groups (EEOC, 2002). The blacks were openly denied employment opportunities in most businesses. Nonetheless, when they were hired, the employers offered them jobs that were termed as low -status jobs (Loevy, 1997). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 remains one of the most important legislative pieces against nearly all forms of racial discrimination (Wright, 2006). It is described as one of the racial discrimination legislations that have had numerous impacts to the business sector. Passed by the Congress on the 2nd day of July 1964, the Civil Rights Act illegalized any form of discrimination against any person despite his/her religion, nationality, sex, color and race (Loevy, 1997). Title VII of this act clearly specifies that any business enterprise is required to follow the provisions of this act. As denoted by Hasday (2007), the act provides that no person must be discriminated either in the employment, education or housing sectors on the basis of his/her racial profile. Through this act, it is illegal for any business enterprise to discriminate its employees based on their nationality, color, race or religion (Hasday, 2007). Moreover, as denoted by Hasday (2007), the act illegalized any forms of discrimination within public accommodation sector as well as within the business sector. Through this act, the business sector was impacted much since it became illegal to discriminate employees during employment (Hasday, 2007). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was established to cater for businesses with employees amounting to 15 and above. Applying to all local, state and national businesses, the Act has required all businesses to comply with its requirements on racial discrimination (Hasday, 2007). According to Hasday (2007), through this Act, businesses are not capable of limiting or segregating any person within their workforce on a basis of the person’s racial profile. However, the Act provides certain exceptionalities to the businesses in that it explains that business enterprises may utilize merit, performance appraisals, tests as well as seniority to promote, hire or fire their employees. However, the Act provided that these exceptions were not to be aligned towards the employee’s racial profile (Hasday, 2007). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was instituted through the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Hasday, 2007). According to Hasday (2007), he commission was given the responsibility of overseeing the execution of the Act especially the provisions of Title VII. Due to the activities of the commission, most business enterprises that violated the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were prosecuted (Loevy, 1997). Most of the businesses were entangled in a tussle with the government as numerous law suits related to racial discrimination emerged. As denoted by Hasday (2007), since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act and the subsequent formation of EEOC, the fight against racial discrimination on the U.S. has taken novel directions. Although businesses have been impacted much especially in relation to the hiring of employees as well as in conducting businesses, the Act has greatly assisted in establishing workplace environments that are devoid of racial discrimination (Loevy, 1997). The EEOC has played great roles in ensuring that no cases of racial discrimination are witnessed in all sectors of the economy in the U.S. Several legal achievements in the fight against racial discrimination in the U.S. have been witnessed through the efforts of the EEOC. Through EEOC, the Equal Payment Act enacted in 1963 was equally implemented (Hasday, 2007). The Equal Payment Act is also another legislative tool enacted in the U.S. that focused on racial discrimination. As denoted by Laney (2003), through this Act, it is illegal to discriminate workers based on their racial profiles. As denoted by EEOC (2002), the provisions of the Equal Payment Act of 1963 have greatly protected employees employed in similar work environments and performing same kind of work from being discriminated based on their racial structures (Laney, 2003). According to Loevy (1997), this act has greatly impacted on businesses since it requires all employers to pay all employees performing similar jobs the same amount of pay despite their race. Through the Equal Payment Act of 1963, businesses have been able to establish workforces that embrace the aspect of racial diversity (Laney, 2003). Another major act that was instrumental towards the fight against racial discrimination in the U.S. was the Voting Rights Act enacted in 1965 (Laney, 2003). According to Laney (2003), this act has been perceived as among the acts focused on racial discrimination passed by the Congress. Based on the 15th Amendment of the U.S. constitution, the Voting Rights act ensured that no individual would be discriminated as well as deprived of his/her voting rights on the basis of racial profiles (Laney, 2003). According to Laney (2003), the Act has had an impact to the business sector as well as the entire nation since it ensured that all literacy tests, restrictions related to bureaucracy and poll taxes imposed on individuals during voting were abolished. Since the Voting Rights Act had a great impact towards the fight against racial discrimination, it was challenged through the U.S. high court although the Supreme Court ruled that the law was an important tool in the fight against racial discrimination in the U.S. The act has been strengthened and readopted in 1970, 1975 and 1982 (Laney, 2003). The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, enacted in 1967 is also another act that has focused on racial discrimination (Neumark, 2001). According to Neumark (2001), the act was enacted after it became evident that most workplace environments not only discriminated their employees based on their racial profiles but also based on their age structures. Through this Act as denoted by Neumark (2001), individuals aged above 40 years have been protected from being discriminated by their employers. The act has impacted much on businesses since most businesses have been left with no option but to employ workers who are aged over 40 (Neumark, 2001). According to Neumark (2001), economists have argued that this act has adversely affected the output of most businesses since individuals aged above 40 years are perceived to have a low production compared to those below 40 years The Fair Housing Act of 1968 is another act that focuses on racial discrimination (Clarkin, 1993). Based on Titles VIII and IX of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act was enacted in a bid to eliminate racial discrimination in the housing sector. This law ensured that no person was discriminated on the basis of his/her race during the leasing and selling of houses (Clarkin, 1993). According to Clarkin (1993), this act has encouraged the existence of fairness in the housing sector throughout the U.S. Through the provisions of this act, it is illegal to deny a person a chance to rent as well as sell a house based on racial profiles (Clarkin, 1993). Moreover, the act makes it illegal to discriminate an individual through imposition of conditions aimed at eliminating a certain race in the provision of housing services. The provisions of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 have been replicated in several regulations including the USC Section 1981 and 1982 (Clarkin, 1993). The Arizona Immigration Act enacted in 2010 forms one of the most recent acts enacted in the U.S. that focuses on racial discrimination (Archibold, 2010). The Arizona Immigration Act of 2010 has been passed during a period when immigration has become an issue of concern especially to the U.S. as argued by Archibold (2010), although the U.S. has argued that it is focused on fighting against illegal immigrants, it is clear that the major underlying factor in immigration remains ethnicity. The recently passed act has remained a controversial act since it was enacted (Archibold, 2010). It is an act that makes it illegal for any person to live in Arizona without a legal citizenship status. It is undoubtedly that this act is an act aimed at fighting against illegal immigrants. However, although former acts passed in the U.S. have aimed at fighting racial discrimination, it has been argued that this act promotes racism (Archibold, 2010). Despite these arguments, the Arizona Immigration Act has gone further to prevent the occurrence of any racial based abuses as well as racial discrimination during its enforcement (Archibold, 2010). According to Archibold (2010), the statute has explicitly banned all possible forms of racial profiling. The impacts of the Arizona immigration act on the business sector are already being felt despite the law being new. The law has impacted much on most business organizations within the state. Due to this act, issues that are related to race relations have emerged. Archibold (2010), argues that the law has led to increased employee conflicts in most business enterprises; an aspect that has adversely affected productivity in most business organizations. Moreover as argued by Archibold (2010), the act has brought on to board a renewed focus on issues related to diversity as well as eligibility of employees to be offered jobs within the state. This act has not only affected businesses within the state but also within the external environment. Most businesses within the entire U.S. as well as other nations have found it hard to market their products within the state as well as recruit (Archibold, 2010). The racial discrimination laws have greatly impacted on the business sector. Production costs have increased, hiring, firing and retaining employees has become a demanding activity, profits have dwindled, businesses have been entangled in occasional lawsuits and most of them have lost their reputation (Laney, 2003). However, despite these perceived production impacts to businesses occasioned by the various legislative tools aimed at illegalizing racial discrimination, businesses have been left with no option but to embrace the acts and therefore fight all forms of racial discrimination within their premises (Loevy, 1997). The acts have required all businesses to eliminate any forms of racial discrimination related to employee termination, promotion, as well as hiring. Moreover, the accommodation business enterprises have been left with no option but to admit for accommodation any person despite his/her racial profile. As argued by Laney (2003), the past laws against racial discrimination have had a great impact on businesses. Most of those that have failed to follow the laid regulations have opened their business empires to numerous lawsuits that have equally damaged their reputation as well as their finances (Loevy, 1997). Conclusion This paper has presented a description of some of the specific laws in the U.S. that focus on racial discrimination and how these laws impact on the business sector. As established, discrimination is an issue that has prevailed thought-out the history of the U.S. the U.S. has remained one of the major nations in which racial discrimination has taken its roots since history. Most ethnic groups in the U.S. especially the minority ethnic groups have witnessed all sorts of discrimination against them since history. However, despite the increased rates of racial discrimination, the federal government has taken initiatives to enact a number of legislative tools aimed at fighting against racial discrimination. The paper has described some of the major laws enacted in the U.S. that have focused on racial discrimination including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and the current Arizona Immigration Act enacted of 2010. It is perceived that these laws have impacted negatively on business production. However, despite these perceived production impacts to businesses occasioned by the various legislative tools aimed at illegalizing racial discrimination, businesses have been left with no option but to embrace the acts and therefore fight all forms of racial discrimination within their premises. References Archibold, R. C. (2010). Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration. New York Times. Accessed on 25th August, 2011 from:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/24/us/politics/24immig.html EEOC (2002). Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions And Answers. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Accessed on 25th August, 2011 from: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html Clarkin, T. (1993). The Fair Housing Act of 1968. Texas: University of Texas at Austin. Hasday, J. L. (2007). The Civil Rights Act of 1964: An End to Racial Segregation. New York, NY: InfoBase Publishing Company. Laney, G. P. (2003). The voting rights act of 1965: historical background and current issues. New York, NY: Novinka Books, an Imprint of Nova science Publishers, Inc. Loevy, R. D. (1997). The Civil Rights Act of 1964: the passage of the law that ended racial Segregation. Albany: State University of New York Press. Neumark, D. (2001). Age discrimination legislation in the United States. University of Michigan: National Bureau of Economic Research. Wright, S. (2006). The Civil Rights Act of 1964: landmark antidiscrimination legislation. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

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