This course will focus primarily on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The emphasis will be on the major analytic frameworks for understanding what discrimination is -- and what the law should do about it.
We will examine some of the major disputes among courts and Congress about what counts as intentional discrimination; how the law should treat discrimination that is not intentional; what a plaintiff ought to have to prove in order to make out a claim of discrimination; how the Constitution interacts with employment discrimination statutes; and affirmative action. In the later part of the course we will examine the law's treatment of discrimination on the basis of, among other things, pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation, national origin and language, and religion. We will supplement the case law with relevant secondary materials that provide perspectives from disciplines such as sociology and psychology.