The protections of Title VII do not apply to many.

For more than 50 years, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has been hailed as a protection for women in the workforce. As a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, it has helped many women over the years. But working women in Phoenix, Arizona should know that not all are protected under the Act.

Title VII has a very large loophole. The Act only applies to companies or firms with less than 15 employees. Smaller companies and employers are excluded from its requirements. As the majority of companies in the US currently employ less than 10 people, the loophole is significant.

Certain industries or service sectors are traditionally dominated by smaller employers, such as the farming industry. The 'mom and pop" companies are by definition small companies and are exempt from the Act. It does not apply to domestic workers who work at a single home. For these tens of millions of workers, the sexual discrimination prohibitions offered by the Act do not apply.

In addition to those who work for small firms, independent contractors are also afforded no protection. By some estimates, independent contractors comprise up to 34 percent of the workforce.

There is currently a movement to remove the exempt employer provisions of Title VII. This was witnessed by a recent protest on Capitol Hill conducted by women in the domestic industries. Whether the movement continues to grow remains to be seen.

For a victim of sexual discrimination in a small firm, all hope is not lost. Irrespective of federal law, some states have their own anti-discrimination laws. In some states, such as Arizona, there are no minimum employee criteria. In these cases, the victim may benefit from contacting an experienced employment law attorney to determine the options she or he has under the law. Arizona Revised Statutes, Article 4 Discrimination in Employment, 41-1463 et. seq., Arizona Legislature (2018)

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Elizabeth D. Tate, Attorney at Law
382 E. Palm Lane
Phoenix, AZ 85004

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