International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barry, Brian, 1988. "Equal Opportunity and Moral Arbitrariness." In Norman E. Bowie, ed., Equal Opportunity. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Biskupic, Joan, 1991. "Civil Rights Act of 1991". Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, vol. 49, no. 49 (December7) 3620-3622.

Bloch, Farrell, 1994. Antidiscrimination Law and Minority Employment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Civil Rights Act of 1964, Public Law88-352, 78 Stat. 241 ( 1964), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e et seq.

Civil Rights Act of 1991, Public Law102-166, 105 Stat. 1071 ( 1991), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 etseq.

Coil James H. III and Charles M. Rice, 1993. "Managing WorkForce Diversity in the Nineties: The Impact of The Civil Rights Act of 1991". Employee Relations Law Journal, vol. 18, no. 4 (Spring) 547-565.

Donohue, John J. and Peter Siegelman, 1991. "The Changing Nature of Employment Discrimination Litigation". Stanford Law Review, vol. 43, no. 5 (May): 983-1033.

Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, Public Law92-261, 86 Stat. 104 ( 1972), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e-4 et seq.

Equal Pay Act of 1963, Public Law88-38., 77 Stat. 56 ( 1963), 29 U.S.C. Secs. 203 and 206 (d).

Kellough, J. Edward, 1990. "Integration in the Public Workplace: Determinants of Minority and Female Employment in Federal Agencies". Public Administration Review, vol. 50, no. 5 (September-October) 557-566.

Turner, Margery A., Michael Fix and Raymond J. Struyk, 1991. Opportunities Denied, Opportunities Diminished: Racial Discrimination in Hiring. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press.

DISCRIMINATION, SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Differential treatment of job applicants and employees based on their status as homosexual (lesbian or gay male), bisexual, or heterosexual (straight).

Unlike employment discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, color, religion, or disability, discrimination on the basis of an employee or job applicant's sexual orientation is not prohibited by federal statute. (See discrimination, disability; discrimination, gender; discrimination, racial.) A serious, though unsuccessful, effort was made in the U.S. Congress to pass such legislation 1994 and similar legislation is likely to be introduced in future sessions of Congress. A number of federal agencies, including most of the Cabinet departments, have adopted agency or departmental orders that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Fifteen states and an estimated 140 local government jurisdictions in the United States have passed laws or issued executive orders prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (sometimes called sexual preference or affectional preference) to protect workers in the public sector and, in many instances, in the private sector, too. The passage of such laws, however, has frequently been controversial and, in several cases such as Dade County, Florida, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and the state of Colorado, voter initiatives have been relied upon as an effort to repeal laws that protected workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.


Debate over Homosexuality

The different legal treatment, and controversial nature, of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is the result of several factors. First, there is continuing scientific, legal, and moral debate over the nature of human sexuality. Is a person's sexual orientation a neutral biological characteristic that should be classified in a manner similar to race and gender, or a behavioral choice a person makes similar to the way a choice about religion is made or whether one chooses to use drugs or commit a crime? No universally agreed upon answer has emerged. Although the position was essentially rejected by the scientific community in the 1970s, nonheterosexual orientations are considered by some medical professionals and laypersons as an illness or disability that should be legitimately considered in determining a person's suitability for employment.


Legal Debate

Whether one's sexuality constitutes a "status" -- that is, a state of being biologically (or in some other immutable manner) attracted to a specific sex or sexes -- or a "behavior" -- that is, a sexual act one performs-has been the focus of much legal argument. As of 1994, there were 20 states that made engaging in consensual sodomy a crime, although states differ on the exact definition of sodomy and whether or not it applies only to sexual contact between people of the same sex or includes people of the opposite sex. In those states, the basis for discriminating against lesbians and gay men in employment decisions is that they either have engaged in or are likely to engage in behavior that violates the law ( England v. Dallas Police Department, 1993; Shahar v. Bowers, 1993). If one's sexual orientation is a status, rather than a behavior, legal justification for discrimination is weak. Debates in the United States over whether or not homosexual military personnel should be allowed to remain in service have highlighted this problem. A number of military personnel have publicly stated that they are homosexuals, but have not admitted, nor been discovered, engaging in any sexual activities with persons of the same sex. The military has sought to discharge them arguing at various times that the statement indicated a propensity to engage in behavior in violation of military regulations or that the statement itself was disruptive enough to justify dismissal.


Moral Debate

The moral debate covers ground similar to the scientific and legal fields. Some persons believe that homosexuality is a sinful behavior, violative of the teachings of many religious faiths, rightfully prohibited by civil law, and a legitimate criterion on which to base an employment decision. Others believe that one's sexual orientation is not a behavioral choice but a biological (or otherwise relatively fixed)

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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