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Civil Rights Act: Overview

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on race, national origin and religion. The law applies to all employers that have at least 15 full- or part-time workers and includes U.S. companies that employ Americans abroad.

In 2014, the EEOC, which enforces the law, received 31,073 charges of race discrimination, 9,579 of national origin discrimination and 3,549 of religion-based discrimination. Many of the cases are dismissed or settled, but others end up in federal court. Well-founded ones may result in multimillion-dollar settlements or verdicts.

Even if employers are vindicated in court, their legal bills mount and they incur the intangible cost of disruption and time away from doing business. Clearly, discrimination based on race, religion and national origin remains a problem.

In 1991, Congress amended the Civil Rights Act to strengthen enforcement. Those amendments added compensatory and punitive damages to...(register to read more)

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