Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Rights Review
List a: Civil Rights Act of 1964 & ADA
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to prohibit discrimination in the workplace, schools, and other arenas. The law protected historically discriminated-against groups such as women, religious groups, and other ethnic minorities. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 expanded the protections of the original Civil Rights Act to include disabilities. However, what constitutes a disability has been a contentious area of the law. According to the ADA, employers must not discriminate against persons with mobility, visual, or hearing impairments as well as people with cognitive disabilities. Illnesses have also been increasingly included under the law. Employers must make reasonable accommodations for their employees (Summary of ADA: Key points, 2012, LIFE Center). So long as the employee can do the job with reasonable accommodations, they cannot be discriminated against. For example, an administrator that needs a wheelchair-accessible office on the first floor would likely fall under the category of reasonable accommodation, in contrast to a job where driving is required (which makes it impossible to hire a visually-impaired person with reasonable accommodations).
In light of this, “federal court in New York recently held that an employee’s breast cancer could qualify as a disability under the ADA, even though the cancer was in remission” (Schwartz 2012). Discriminating against a woman with breast cancer could be read as a violation of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the ADA, given that it discriminates against a woman because of a specifically ‘female’ condition and also because of a disease-related condition, even if that condition is not permanently manifest.
List B: Whistle-blowing
Recently, “former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, who testified that he saw Jerry Sandusky in a shower with an underage boy, filed a whistleblower lawsuit Tuesday against the university” (Laboni 2012). McQueary alleges that his status as a whistleblower, and the critical evidence he supplied to put Coach Jerry Sandusky behind bars, was the reason he lost his job. McQueary states that he was unfairly terminated because of his cooperation with authorities and received no reimbursement from his employers, unlike other Penn State coaches, because of his willingness to come forward (Laboni 2012). Whistleblower protections are designed to encourage employees like McQueary to volunteer information when they have intimate and unique knowledge about wrong-doing in the workforce.
Laboni, R. (2012). Former Penn State assistant coach McQueary files whistleblower suit.
CNN. Retrieved: http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/02/us/pennsylvania-penn-state-lawsuit/index.html
Schwartz, Sara Goldsmith. (2012). Recent ADA cases underscore heightened accommodation duties. Retrieved: http://shpclaw.com/Schwartz-Resources/recent-ada-cases-underscore-heightened-accommodation-duties/
Summary of ADA: Key points. (2012). LIFE Center. Retrieved:
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