The Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark piece of legislation in American history, outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Its major features were outlined in 11 Titles. Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment, applicable to any employer with 15 or more employees. Title VII also prohibits discrimination against a person because of his or her association with another individual, such as through interracial marriage.
Interestingly, Title VII allows any employer, labor union, or employment agency to bypass unlawful employment practices for a person known to be involved with the Communist Party of the United States. However, it should be remembered that this legislation appeared in 1964, and the specter of American communism may not quite be what it once was. Under Title VII, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charged with enforcement, alongside state fair employment practice agencies (FEPAs). Together, these two organization can investigate, mediate, and file lawsuits on behalf of an employee who has been discriminated against.
In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled that sexual harassment in the workplace was a form of sex discrimination, and therefore prohibited by Title VII. In 2012, the EEOC ruled that employment discrimination against transgendered individuals is also prohibited under Title VII.