BSL 4000 Unit VI PowerPoint Presentation

The History of Diversity-Based Legislation



To begin with, diversity in the workplace means having employees from a wide range of backgrounds. Workforce diversity acknowledges the reality that people are different in many ways, visible or invisible, mainly gender, age, marital status, social status, disability, sexual orientation, religion, personality, ethnicity, culture just to mention a few (Kossek, Lobel, & Brown, 2005, p. 54).Organizations/companies need all kinds of skills, personality traits, and life experiences to succeed. Workforce diversity can help ensure that a company has a broad variety of skills and experiences at its service.



The history of diversity-based legislation (The Leadership Conference, 2004).

The history of diversity-based legislation is traced back in 1960s where American for a fair chance was being advocated. The U.S.A began identifying trends in workplace diversity and addressed them with legislation. This evolved into a societal change that embraced diversity. The following is the timeline;1961; U.S.A president John F. Kennedy came up with Executive Order 10925 instructing federal contractors to take action of ensuring applicants are treated equally regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, national origin.1964; President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting large employers on employment discrimination. The president established too the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).


The history of diversity-based legislation (The Leadership Conference, 2004).

1965; President Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 that required government contractors as well as sub-contractors to take equal opportunity to expand job opportunities for minorities. This order was also amended to include equal opportunity for women .1970; The labor department, under president Richard M. Nixon issued Order No. 4 that authorized goals and timetables that were flexible in order to correct underutilization of minorities and women by federal contractors.1979; Executive Order 12138 was issued by president Jimmy Carter to create a National Women’s Business Enterprise Policy and required each agency to take equal opportunity in supporting women’s business enterprises.


The history of diversity-based legislation (The Leadership Conference, 2004).

1983; Executive Order 12432 was issued by President Ronald Regan which directed each federal agency with substantial procurement or grant-making authority to develop a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) development plan.1995; A review of all equal opportunity guidelines by federal agencies was done by President Bill Clinton who declared his support towards equal opportunity programs. He announced the administration’s policy of mend it, don’t end it.


The history of diversity-based legislation (The Leadership Conference, 2004).

1995; Additionally, the bipartisan Glass Ceiling Commission released a report about enduring the barriers that deny women and minorities access to decision-making positions. They issued a recommendation which stated that the corporate America use equal opportunity as a tool to ensure that all qualified individuals gets equal access and opportunity to compete based on their abilities as well as their merits. Note; 1996 to 2014 presents filed cases that renders the Supreme Court to either deny appeals or support changes based on diversity issues.


Diversity-based legislation

Diversity can present challenges of its own and to overcome those challenges requires employers as well as the Human Resource personnel who work with them to have a solid understanding of the federal laws which cover diversity issues like discrimination and harassment as well as any applicable state laws. According to HR Hero (2017a), in the U.S.A, the most important federal laws that deal with diversity issues, especially on the grounds of discrimination are;a. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)b. Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) c. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA)d. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)e. Equal Pay Act (EPA)f. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)


a. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

This federal law prohibits most workplace harassment and discrimination. Its coverage is in all private employers, state and local governments, as well as educational institutions with at least 15 employees (HR Hero, 2017b).This Act also prohibits discrimination against employees based on their race, national origin, religion, color, gender, pregnancy, sex stereotyping, and sexual harassment.Title VII protects not only employees who report complaints of harassment or discrimination on their own initiative, but also employees who speak out about harassment or discrimination while answering questions during an employer’s internal investigation of a harassment or discrimination complaint.


b. Pregnancy Discrimination Act (HR Hero, 2017c)

This Act is an amendment to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is unlawful under this Act. Treatment of pregnant women must be equal as other employers or applicants who have similar abilities or limitations. Employers may not refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant or affected by pregnancy condition. If she can perform the job, then her pregnancy or related condition cannot be the reason for denying her a job opportunity. Employers are not allowed to force an employee to take a pregnancy leave as long as they are in a position to perform their jobs. For health insurances provided by employers to their employees who are pregnant or have a pregnant spouse, they must cover those expenses for pregnancy-related conditions like the cover for other medical conditions.


c. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA)

According to HR Hero (2017d), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a law that prohibits discrimination against disabled employees or job applicants.This Act covers all private employers with at least 15 employees and state and local governments, regardless of the number of employees. This Act provides protection for qualified employees as well as applicants who have disabilities from being discriminated by employers.The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) signed in 2008, expands the interpretation of the ADA’s coverage and the definition of what disabilities are covered under it.Employers are required to make accommodations for any qualified individual with a disability unless doing so would cause you an undue hardship.


d. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

According to HR Hero (2017e), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act is a federal law which was enacted in 1967 to governs age discrimination.This Act promotes the employment of older employees based on ability rather than age, it prevents discrimination, and helps solve the problems that arise with an aging workforce. This Act prohibits an employer from refusing to hire, firing or discriminating against an employee who is 40 years old or older, only on the basis of age. Therefore, an employer cannot deny an employee his/her pay or fringe benefits when the only reason is age or classify employees into certain groups based on age in a way that unjustly denies them of employment opportunities.


e. Equal Pay Act (EPA)

According to HR Hero (2017f), the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963 to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to pay discrimination based on gender.This Act prohibits differences in payment based on employees gender and of course who are working in equal jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.The only permission this Act gives is on differences in payments or wages if the payment or wage is based on seniority, merit, quantity and quality of production, or a differential because of any factor other than gender.If damages are caused under this Act, an employee must prove that different wages are paid to employees of the opposite sex and show that other employees are paid higher wages yet they perform substantially equal work on jobs that require same skill, effort as well as responsibility.


f. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

According to HR Hero (2017g), the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law enforced by the U.S.A Department of Labor as well as the Veterans Employment and Training Service.The law prohibits employers from denying their employees benefit of employment on grounds of individual’s membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services.Additionally, this Act offers protection of the right of reservists, veterans, National Guard members, and other members of the uniformed services to reclaim their civilian employment after being absent because of military service or training.


Diversity Legislation and protected characteristics

The protected characteristics by diversity legislation include; race, color, sex, pregnancy, national origin, disability, age. The are also specific discrimination risks highlighted by diversity legislation are;Employers are prohibited from making pre-employment inquiries about a disability. A n employer may make a job offer conditional on applicant answering certain medical questions and this must be applicable to all new employees in the same job.Many U.S.A states prohibit discrimination based on wider grounds than just federal law, including sexual orientation, marital status, criminal arrest or conviction record.


Diversity Legislation Penalty

According to Rice-Birchall, Choudry, Giesecke and Dale (2015), the penalties for violating these legislation may include reinstatement, the payment of lost wages and costs (including paying the employee’s reasonable lawyers’ fees), non-economic damages (such as emotional harm) and punitive damages (which is a maximum of $300,000 for some malicious or reckless acts)


The challenges of legislating diversity

The challenge of legislating diversity is that complying only with legislation is not sufficient to accomplish genuine diversity neither is assuming that its benefits will obviously be derived and accepted. This means that diversity must be approached strategically and its advantages communicated effectively to the public or rather the concerned parties to ensure desired outcomes. Therefore, multi-layered approaches to diversity are essential for its successful implementation.



Comparison of historical legislation of diverse populations to more recent diversity legislation

Since the 1960s, the tent has widened and now includes successive movements for women, ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and the LGBT community.The recent congress that has taken office is slated to be the most racially diverse in history. Record numbers of Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and women of color will serve in the next legislative session.


How diversity legislation impacts ethnic, orientation, and gender groups as well as those of age, appearance, and perceived disability.

Diversity legislation has helped define workplace protections, forced companies to change unfair policies and practices. Individuals are assured protection and are given a chance to freely report complaints of harassment or discrimination on their own initiative, but also when they speak out about harassment or discrimination while answering questions during an employer’s internal investigation of a harassment or discrimination complaint.



Kossek, E.E., Lobel, S.A., & Brown, A.J. (2005). Human Resource Strategies to Manage Workforce Diversity. A.M. Konrad, P. Prasad & J.M. Pringle (Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Rice-Birchall, S., Choudry, N., Giesecke, S., & Dale, J. V. ( 2015). Dealing with diversity: Global workplace discrimination law and practice. Retrieved from Leadership Conference. (2004). Equal Opportunity Timeline. Retrieved from Hero. (2017a). Diversity in the Workplace. Retrieved from Hero. (2017b). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Retrieved from



HR Hero. (2017c). Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Retrieved from Hero. (2017d). Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). Retrieved from Hero.(2017e). Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Retrieved from Hero. (2017f). Equal Pay Act (EPA). Retrieved from Hero. (2017g). USERRA. Retrieved from