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Title VII: An Overview of Some Common Employer Pitfalls


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Titile VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other supporting acts and laws have established certain employment rights for the vast majority of employees throughout the United States, and the procedures for enforcing those rights. Substantial efforts have been made by federal and state agencies, as well as minority interest groups, to publicize the laws and their enforcement procedures. In 1974 it can be safely assumed that virtually all employees affected by the equal employment laws are familiar with their rights or, minim- ally, know where to obtain sufficient information to be fully apprised of those rights. Surprisingly, the corollary is not true. Employers often are woefully uninformed regarding permitted and prohibited employment practices. Often, employment relations are a minor or even insignificant facet of the general operation of a business. Problems rarely occur as a result of an overt desire to violate the equal em- ployment laws or the rights of any employees. On the contrary, management's policies and practices are most often genuinely motivated by a desire to maintain or improve the conduct of business. However, decisions implemented without sufficient knowledge of or concern for protected employee rights can prove to be disastrous, as will be discussed later in this article.