As we enter into Independence Day weekend, we wanted to pause and salute the advances in American hiring practices that have brought greater equality to the American workforce.
1. Equal Pay Act. In 1963 John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. Building on the Fair Labor Standards Act, it sought to target wage inequality between the genders. While advances have been made, the pay gap between men and women persists as a problem we are still addressing five decades later.
2. Civil Rights Act of 1964. A key outgrowth of the Civil Rights Movement, this law took a bold and clear stance outlawing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in schools, workplaces, and businesses.
3. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. An outgrowth of several years’ consideration, the chief sponsor of the bill was Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who gave part of the introduction speech in sign language (you can watch it here!). A fitting measure and also a personal gesture to Senator Harkin’s deaf brother.
4. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The laws enumerated are excellent ideals, but only potent if observed. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was established in 1965 to enforce the important reforms enacted and be an advocate for fair hiring and employment practices in the U.S.
Fire up your grills and light some fireworks to enjoy our rich freedoms in this country. While you do so, take some time to consider how you can be an ally of fairness and a foe of discrimination in the workplace.