CMD 493 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: American Civil Liberties Union, Civil Rights Act Of 1964, Language Ideology

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21 Feb 2017
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CMD 493: Study Guide Questions
R. Lippi-Green, Language Ideology in the Workplace & Judicial System
1. What, when and where are the first statements in US law prohibiting language
discrimination?
1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Title VII provides recourse for workers who are discriminated against on the
basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
1980 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a body created by
Title VII directly addressed trait-based discrimination
2. What is the legal process for making a case of language-based discrimination?
An individual files a complaint with the EEOC (or a similar agency on a state or
local level)
The employee may then file a civil action in the trial courts, in which he or she
claims that civil liberties have been violated
In some instances, these cases are brought to the courts by a private agency
acting for the injured party, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or
by a government agency, such as the EEOC
An individual claiming language-focused discrimination must first prove a prima
facie case of disparate treatment in four steps
After a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to rebut presumption
of discrimination by articulating some legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for
the action
3. Based upon data collected from 1972-1994 (see table 8.1), do courts tend to find in favor of
the plaintiff (employee) or the defendant (employer)?
Courts tend to favor the defendant
4. What factors influence how evidence is evaluated in the legal decision-making process, in
discrimination cases? (e.g. double heresay)
Technicalities of the law and standards for evidence
One must assume that sometimes a Plaintiff will claim language-focused
discrimination when in fact none has taken place
There may be clear evidence of discrimination which the court overlooks
because there is a bona fide reason to deny employment.
Title VII disallows discrimination on the basis of accent when it correlates to
national origin, but it allows employers to discriminate on the basis of job ability
Employers point out that the decision-making process in business hiring and
promotion practices is often unavoidably subjective in nature.
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