State of Racism and Gender Discrimination

3437 Words May 13th, 2009 14 Pages
State of Racism and Gender Discrimination

What is discrimination? Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of a different person or groups of people based on certain characteristics. In the United States there are seven protected characteristics or classes that are defined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Employment Act, and the American Disabilities Act that can not be discriminated against: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, and disability. This paper focuses on two of the protected classes: race and gender discrimination.
What is racism? Racism (also known as discrimination against a race or races) is a belief that all members of one racial group have superior characteristics or
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These requirements are important to becoming a fire fighter and many argue that they are more than necessary. However, this does not mean that the fire department does not want to work with women. It is just the policy to set the standards high. Another interesting example: A male employee was fired by his employer because he refused to work at night (“Small Business Encyclopedia” 2002). This company had a policy saying that women did not have to work at night because the company was located in a high crime area. The male employees had to work the night shifts for the company, while the women employees did not. The male employee in question filed a suit under Title VII against his employer claiming sexual discrimination. The company claimed that several female employees would quit if they were forced to work at night. The company also claimed the policy was a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). This case is interesting because BFOQ can be used as a defense to allow certain discrimination. BFOQ is an exception provided by Title VII for jobs that require a specific religion, sex, national origin, or age as a reasonable necessity for normal operations of a business. Although BFOQ applies to the fire department qualifications, the courts deemed that the company who asked only its male workers to take the night-shift was could not use BFOQ as a valid defense (“Small Business
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