Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



On July 2, 1964, President Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964,' the most far-reaching civil rights legislation in history.Much has been written about the act, but almost without exception the writers have been concerned with the ban of discrimination in employment on the basis of race or color. But the most radical and troublesome characteristic of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is its outlawing of employment discrimination based on sex. It is the purpose of this note to examine this largely ignored aspect of the act. The inquiry will first examine the regulation of sex discrimination generally under the federal constitution and federal and state laws.Emphasis here will be placed on the treatment of discrimination under the fourteenth amendment, the Railway Labor Act, the National Labor Relations Act and, of primary importance, the interaction of Title VII with the similar provisions of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The legislative history of the inclusion of the word "sex" in Title VII will be examined, and a synopsis will be presented, to indicate the types of employment practices which have been deemed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to be violative of the provision of the act. Finally, there will be an examination of the two aspects of the law which give rise to the greatest problems: the bona fide occupational qualification exception under which discrimination is permitted, and the relationship between Title VII, state fair employment practice laws, and state laws regulating the employment of women.