Division of

Diversity and Inclusion

Legal Basis of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
Equal employment opportunity is the law of the land. In the public sector, this means that all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, sex or national origin shall have equal access to available positions and programs. Federal and state legislation and court decisions have established both the principles and the mandated requirements for compliance with these laws.  

A summary of the most prominent of the statutes and Executive Orders regarding equal opportunity is listed below.

arrow The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in provision of benefits or services in all programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance.
arrow The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits unlawful discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin regardless of whether the employer is a contractor with the federal government. Title VII also prohibits sexual harassment and creates the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charging it with enforcement of Title VII.
arrow The Civil Rights Act of 1991 strengthens existing laws prohibiting discriminatory practices by establishing a more stringent burden of proof for employers defending themselves against charge of discriminatory acts. It also expands eligibility for compensatory and punitive damages to employees in cases where illegal discrimination is found.
arrow The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in hiring, promotions, discharge, compensation, training and other conditions and benefits of employment.  
arrow The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974 prohibits discrimination in employment based on veteran status. Section 402 of this act requires government contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and promote disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era.
arrow Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities and require institutions to take affirmative action to hire and promote qualified persons with disabilities, as well as to make programs accessible to persons with disabilities. Institutions must also provide “reasonable accommodations” to persons with disabilities.
arrow The Equal Pay Act of 1963 provides that employees performing substantially the same work under similar working conditions in the same establishment receive the same rate of pay, regardless of sex.
arrow The Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs or activities on the basis of sex against employees or students in federal assisted programs and in educational institutions receiving federal funds.
arrow The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Unlike the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 coverage is not limited to persons between 40 and 70 years of age.
arrow The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 makes it unlawful for an employer recruiting, hiring, or discharging employees to discriminate against any individual who is authorized to work in the United States because of that individual's national origin or citizenship status. Under new antidiscrimination provisions enacted as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, additional unfair immigration-related employment practices are prohibited.
arrow Executive Order 11246 (1965) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Executive Order also requires organizations with federal contracts over $50,000 and 50 employees to develop written affirmative action plans that include goals and timetables to achieve full utilization of women and minorities in their workforce.
arrow Executive Order 11141 declares it to be against federal policy for a contractor and subcontractors in the performance of federal government contracts, to discriminate against employees or job applicants because of age.  
arrow Missouri Human Rights Act (Chapter 213, Revised Statutes of Missouri) prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing. It creates the Missouri Commission on Human Rights with the Missouri Department of Labor and charges the Commission with enforcement of the Act.