According to the title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the employees can sue the employers for utilizing the unjustified employment practices which had an adverse impact on the working conditions.
Regarding the appearance policy of Peace City Salon which required wearing a uniform and prohibited beards and hair longer than shoulder length, the owner of the salon rationalizes it with presenting a consistent image for the salon and relates it to business necessity of the enterprise. Though several employees object to the requirements, the practice does not violate the title VII and cannot be regarded as unlawful.
The main difficulties of proving the unlawful character of the procedures are caused with indistinct concepts of a disparate impact of the practice and the business necessity to which the employer relates it. On the one hand, the requirements are equal for all the classes of workers without discriminating representatives of particular racial, gender or ethnical groups. On the other hand, some of the requirements are too strict and it is difficult to prove the relationship between the practice and its impact on business.
It is important to distinguish between the generally accepted appearance standards and the biased perception of dress code requirements which can result in unjustified employment practices. Considering the norms that are generally accepted in the present day society, the employer could limit the appearance policies to wearing a uniform and cutting hair neatly that would be a less discriminatory but more reasonable method for achieving the business goals.
Regarding the case with Gourmet Grocery, which made knowledge of Spanish obligatory for promotion to the managerial positions, this practice does not violate the Title VII because it is based not on the criterion of ethnical origin of the employee but on worker’s knowledge and skills.
According to the Title VII, the practice can be defined as unlawful if the choice of applicants or candidates for promotion is performed on the basis of consideration of race or national origin as wll as sex and religion.
It is important that this requirement can be justified with business necessity of the store because the 75 % of its customers are Hispanic, and employees’ ability to communicate with the customers is crucial for maximizing the profit potential of the market.
Looking for a less discriminatory method of meeting the business goals, the employers could organize training courses for teaching the workers Spanish and providing them with opportunities to enhance their chances for promotion.
The policy of Martin’s Shoes Company which distributes athletic shoes prohibits individuals weighing more than 150 lbs (68 kg) to use the elevator to the third floor because of its maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs.
Though this requirement is predetermined with the objective factors of technical characteristics of the equipment, it violates the title VII disregarding its innocent appearance. In this case the discriminatory practice cannot be justified with business necessity because there is no relationship between the economic goals of the company and the technical limits of the elevator.
The employers should have considered the disadvantages of the technical characteristics of the elevator while working on the project of the building for preventing the disparate impact situations. A less discriminatory practice is changing the construction if it is possible or allotting the third floor to some departments which are not of crucial importance for ensuring the equal working conditions for the staff.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved October 31, 2010, from US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website