Different states are based on different principles which are reveled in the way the state is governed and the society is organized. One of these optional principles is equal opportunity. According to this principle, all the people should be treated in the same way with no regard to their origin, sex, race, political views and so on. The theory of equal opportunity is based on numerous philosophical, sociological, and anthropologic studies. The main idea is to avoid selection process based on arbitrariness and to replace it with the basis of fairness. It means that only the individual’s own efforts should be decisive and no extraneous circumstances should influence decision-making process by the responsible person in charge. However, the stipulations provided by these studies are not easy to implement in practice. First of all, they create a number of barriers and difficulties for lawyers, as a system of procedural and legal means is to be developed to make the social order legitimate.
In the United States there is a general agreement to bring the principle of equal opportunity to life. One of the spheres in which this principle is allegedly practiced is employment. The U.S. history encompasses a long story of how civil rights have been fought for and how discrimination has been fought against. Thus, this paper is intended to investigate the state of laws concerning equal employment opportunity in the United States. The history of legal means will be traced and the attempt to analyze these means will be accomplished.
To get a full image, it needs to be collected from separate pieces of information, like in a puzzle. In order realize what the current state of laws affecting equal employment opportunity is, the investigation should encompass certain questions. It is important to know what these laws and acts are. Their subject and details should be analyzed, and the role of these acts should be assessed. In this way, the research will dwell on the question what federal laws prohibit job discrimination; what types of discrimination are prohibited by these federal laws; who are the subjects and objects of these laws; in what way the victims are defended and what federal or state bodies are responsible for the careful observance of anti-discrimination laws.
Answering the Questions
In 1963 the Equal Pay Act was introduced to avoid sex-based discrimination in wages paid to men and women with the same professional functions. The first federal law to protect almost all of the employees in the United States from different types of employment discrimination was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Title VI of this act prohibited discrimination based on national origin and protected limited English proficient persons. Title VII of this act prohibited employment discrimination based on the race, religion, gender and national origin of an employee as well as an applicant.
In 1965 the U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Executive Order 11246. This order prohibited discrimination of employees by federal contractors on the basis of creed, sex, color of skin, race, religion, and national origin. In this way, five main classes to protect from job discrimination were identified. This order was step by step supported by a list of acts.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was adopted in 1967 to protect the U.S. citizens aged 40 and over. If a person becomes a victim of age discrimination, he or she is free to go directly to court. In 1973 the Rehabilitation Act was issued to protect former employees from federal government (Section 501 and Section 505). After the Vietnam War, the special act for veterans was issued. It was the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. In this act military history of an employee is regarded as a forbidden basis for discrimination. In 1986 the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was introduced. According to this act, all the employers are required to assure the U.S. legal authorization of all their employees.