LegalSpeak: McDonald v. Santa Fe Transportation Co. (1976)

Title VII Read more from
Chapter Employment Law

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits the discharge of “any individual” because of “such individual’s race,” 703 (a) (1), 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2 (a) (1). Its terms are not limited to discrimination against members of any particular race. Thus, although we were not there confronted with racial discrimination against whites, we described the Act in Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971), as prohibiting “[discriminatory preference for any [racial] group, minority or majority.” Similarly the EEOC, whose interpretations are entitled to great deference, has consistently interpreted Title VII to proscribe racial discrimination in private employment against whites on the same terms as racial discrimination against nonwhites … This conclusion is in accord with uncontradicted legislative history to the effect that Title VII was intended to “cover white men and white women and all Americans,” 110 Cong. Rec. 2578 (1964) (remarks of Rep. Celler), and create an “obligation not to discriminate against whites.” We therefore hold today that Title VII prohibits racial discrimination against the white petitioners in this case upon the same standards as would be applicable were they Negroes [or] … white.


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