ERIC Number: ED137503
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Last Hired, First Fired: Layoffs and Civil Rights. A Report of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, DC.
The effects of the 1974-75 economic recession on the effort to ensure equal employment opportunity for the Nation's minority groups and women are examined in the first section of this report, which documents the layoff of disproportionately large numbers of minority and female workers during the recession, generally resulting from the fact that many were only recently hired and thus had earned little seniority. It is concluded that the recession seriously eroded affirmative action gains of recent years, frustrating the intent of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246, as amended, and other programs enacted to help minority and female workers narrow the historic economic gap between them and white male workers. The likelihood of continuing high unemployment and future economic slowdowns, which threaten not only vulnerable minority and women workers with low seniority, but many white males, particularly youths, as well, is analyzed. The social costs of such unemployment, particularly that involving job losers and discouraged workers are described. Two sections of the report discuss layoffs and seniority and review the legality of layoffs by seniority when disproportionate numbers of minorities or women are affected. Alternatives to layoffs are explored in the fourth section, some of them already widely practiced in Western Europe and by some industries in the U.S. (e.g., reduction of hours, early retirement, rotation of layoffs, cuts in cost other than wages). In the concluding section suggestions are made for explicit Federal guidelines by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with regard to the "last hired, first fired" conflict based on the principle that all seniority-based layoff policies should be invalid as they apply to any work force that does not mirror the relevant labor market and the composition of which cannot be explained successfully by the employer. (JT)
Descriptors: Administrative Agencies, Affirmative Action, Agency Role, Business Cycles, Civil Rights Legislation, Court Litigation, Economic Climate, Economic Factors, Employers, Employment Statistics, Equal Opportunities (Jobs), Federal Government, Females, Guidelines, Job Layoff, Legal Responsibility, Minority Groups, Personnel Policy, Seniority
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, DC.