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Principles of HR Law I – Against the Historic Background of Employer Hiring Practices: Employment Ads

Principles of HR Law I – Against the Historic Background of Employer Hiring Practices:  Employment Ads

One of the foundation stones of current employment law in the United States is the pieces of legislation that were passed in the 1960s and 1970s to correct questionable employment practices, such as the overt discrimination in help wanted ads.

Here are examples of ads that were typically placed in newspapers in 1960[1]  •WAITRESS-White.  Good  tips.  Chicago Tribune January 3 1960

•GIRL, white, 25-40.  Lite household  position, Rm, board.  Los Angeles Times January 2 1960

•COOK-hswkr., fine position,  top salary +  bonus  Must be capable. white.  New York Times January 3 1960

•BOYS WHITE Age 14 to  18.  To  assist Route manager full or part-time. Must be neat in appearance.  Washington Post January 3 1960

Principles of HR Law II – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the critical section – Title VII.   The following is from the Overview:  Section 15:  Race and Color Discrimination – EEOC Compliance Manual[2]

With the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress sought to eliminate the problems of segregation and discrimination – manifested overtly as in the hiring ads above – in the United States. The impetus for the Act was the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, which challenged the denial of the right of Blacks to participate equally in society.

However, there was the very clear reality of employment problems that called for resolution.  According to the EEOC, the 1962 unemployment rate of Blacks and other people of color was 124 percent higher than that of Whites.[3]   The employment title of the Act — Title VII — covers employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected activity. Title VII’s prohibitions against race and color discrimination were aimed at ending a system in which Blacks were “largely relegated to unskilled and semi-skilled jobs.” (1) However, Congress drafted the statute broadly to cover race or color discrimination against anyone – Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Arabs, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, persons of more than one race, and all other persons.(2)

Today, the national policy of nondiscrimination is firmly rooted in the law.(3) In addition, it generally is agreed that equal opportunity has increased dramatically in America, including in employment. Blacks and other people of color now work in virtually every field, and opportunities are increasing at every level.




[3] – from footnote 1

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  • Pulasthi Hsenid

    Nice peace of Article. keep writing

  • Tom Hoffacker

    The ads you cited seem so strange, Ken. Maybe you could discuss recruitment advertising vis-a-vis immigration rules. Those rules seem strange too.

  • Ken Tagawa

    Hi, Tom: These ads are shocking; they jar our sensibilities, but they are representative of ads in newspapers, including these highly visible metropolitan papers, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which put a halt to such blatant discrimination by employers. Write back and tell me about what you see in the immigration rules. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Also, here’s the relevant section from the Civil Rights Act


    SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]

    (a) Employer practices

    It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer –

    (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

    (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

    My best,