This poster was created by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in 1989 in celebration of the commission’s 25th birthday.

In 1964 Congress passed Public Law 82-352 (78 Stat. 241), the Civil Rights Act. The provisions of the act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race in hiring, promoting, and firing. In the final legislation, Section 703 (a) made it unlawful for an employer 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 or employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." The final bill also allowed sex to be a consideration when sex is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job.

Title VII of the act created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to implement the law. Subsequent legislation expanded the role of the EEOC. According to the U.S. Government Manual of 2002–2003, the EEOC enforces laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age in hiring, promoting, firing, setting wages, testing, training, apprenticeship, and all other terms and conditions of employment. Since its creation in 1964, Congress has gradually extended EEOC powers to include investigatory authority, creating conciliation programs, filing lawsuits, and conducting voluntary assistance programs. Today, the regulatory authority of the EEOC includes enforcing a range of Federal statutes prohibiting employment discrimination. By the late 1970s, all branches of the Federal Government and most state governments had taken at least some action to fulfill the promise of equal protection under the law.

Teaching Suggestion:

Distribute copies of the poster and Our Documents #97, Civil Rights Act, 1964, to students. Ask them to compare the language of the act with the language in the poster. Encourage them to generate a list of similarities and differences, paying particular attention to how the act was expanded to include other types of discrimination. Once the list is complete, challenge students to find and bring into class other examples of this language in public papers. For example, students may find the language in job applications, real estate advertisements, and loan applications.