The Leverage and Limitation of Law

Lesson 1: Topic 2 of 19

Those steps were necessary to mitigate abusive behaviors in the workplace, because owners and directors realized the harm inaction would do to employee morale, to their reputations with consumers, and to real (or at least potential) financial liability. But sometimes business owners and directors themselves were at fault – the foxes were guarding the henhouse, so to speak. In such cases nothing gets done to correct unethical behaviors, so eventually State and Federal legislators, working with whistleblowers and advocacy groups, passed statutes to address these sorts of abuses. A quick glance at some major ones include:

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and national origin at all places of public accommodation (such as hotels and restaurants, government buildings, theaters and sporting arenas). It also established the EEOC, which had the power to sue violators on behalf of aggrieved parties, and its passage helped pave the way for other pieces of legislation, particularly the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. 

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The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 made it illegal to show bias against older workers (defined as age 40 or above) when it comes to hiring, continued employment, or determining salary by employers, employment agencies, and labor unions. It, too, is enforced by the EEOC. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 extended these protections to cover any entity that receives Federal funding, and later the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 amended portions of this legislation.