Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been a reliable shield for many employees in the past and continues to hold its significance in our society today. It is a federal law that serves as a powerful weapon against sex discrimination, especially for mothers who are often subject to baseless stereotypes in the workplace.
An example that stands out is the recent case lodged against Walmart by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As the case revealed, a dedicated employee was denied a well-deserved promotion to a department manager position due to sex stereotypes. The reasons for overlooking her promotion revolved around her young children, implying that she may not be as committed or dedicated to advancing her career. Such stereotypes are exactly what Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 aims to fight against.
“Discriminating against a woman because of stereotypes about working mothers is sex discrimination, plain and simple,” said Gregory Gochanour, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “Women with children deserve the opportunity to be judged fairly in the workplace based on their qualifications and abilities, not on assumptions about their commitment to their careers.”
This landmark legislation not only prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex, but also race, color, religion, and national origin. The law has been instrumental in protecting mothers from facing discrimination in the workplace. It ensures that they are given equal opportunities for recruitment, hiring, promotion and training.
The settlement follows an earlier ruling by the court rejecting Walmart’s motion to end the case without a trial. The court’s decision on the case highlighted that a promotion decision taken based on sex stereotypes was unjust. The courts referenced a U.S. Supreme Court case that unraveled the harmful sex stereotype presumption — that women are primarily mothers and secondarily workers. This presumption was deemed impermissible and countered the rights provided through Title VII.
The outcome of this lawsuit served as another win for Title VII, with Walmart agreeing to pay a sizable compensation of $60,000 to the aggrieved employee. Further, in an effort to prevent future discrimination, they committed to providing training that focuses on federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination and to report any further complaints to the EEOC.
This case serves as a clear reminder of how vital Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is in ensuring a fair and non-discriminatory playing field for mothers. It eradicates stereotypes, ensuring women are acknowledged for their skills, qualifications, and abilities rather than unfairly judged based on their circumstances. Discrimination against women, particularly rooted in stereotypes of working mothers, is regarded as sex discrimination, and this law serves as a bulwark against it.