Civil Rights Act of 1991 - Pub. L. 102-166

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is a United States statute that was passed in response to a series of United States Supreme Court decisions limiting the rights of employees who had sued their employers for discrimination. The Act represented the first effort since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to modify some of the basic procedural and substantive rights provided by federal law in employment discrimination cases: it provided for the right to trial by jury on discrimination claims and introduced the possibility of emotional distress damages, while limiting the amount that a jury could award.

Civil Rights Act of 1991
102d CONGRESS 1ST SESSION H.R.1

To amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to restore and strengthen civil rights laws that ban discrimination in employment, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 3, 1991

Mr. Brooks (for himself and Mr. Edwards of California, Mr. Fish, Mr. Gephardt, Mr. Gray, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Fazio, Ms. Schroeder, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Towns, Mr. Ortiz, Mr. Mineta, and Mr. Matsui) introduced the following bill; which was referred jointly to the Committees on Education and Labor and the Judiciary

March 8, 1991

Additional sponsors: Mr. Ford of Michigan, Mr. Clay, Mrs. Collins of Michigan, Mrs. Collins of Illinois, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Dellums, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Dymally, Mr. Espy, Mr. Flake, Mr. Ford of Tennessee, Mr. Hayes of Illinois, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Mfume, Ms. Norton, Mr. Owens of New York, Mr. Payne of New Jersey, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Savage, Mr. Stokes, Mr. Washington, Ms. Waters, Mr. Wheat, Mr. Abercrombie, Mr. Andrews of Texas, Mr. Andrews of New Jersey, Mr. Andrews of Maine, Mr. Atkins, Mr. AuCoin, Mr. Bacchus, Mr. Berman, Mr. Bilbray, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Brown, Mr. Bryant, Mr. Bustamante, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Carper, Mr. Coleman of Texas, Mr. Condit, Mr. Coyne, Mr. de Lugo, Mr. DeFazio, Ms. DeLauro, Mr. Dicks, Mr. Dingell, Mr. Downey, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Dwyer of New Jersey, Mr. Faleomaveaga, Mr. Fascell, Mr. Feighan, Mr. Foglietta, Mr. Frank of Massachusetts, Mr. Frost, Mr. Fuster, Mr. Gejdenson, Mr. Gibbons, Mr. Glickman, Mr. Green of New York, Mr. Hall of Ohio, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Hoagland, Ms. Horn, Mr. Jacobs, Mr. Johnson of South Dakota, Mr. Jontz, Ms. Kaptur, Mrs. Kennelly, Mr. Kildee, Mr. Kleczka, Mr. Lantos, Mr. Lehman of Florida, Mr. Levin of Michigan, Mr. Levine of California, Mrs. Lowey of New York, Mr. Markey, Mr. Martinez, Mr. Mavroules, Mr. Mazzoli, Mr. McCloskey, Mr. McDermott, Mr. McHugh, Mr. McMillen of Maryland, Mr. McNulty, Mr. Miller of California, Mrs. Mink, Mr. Moody, Mrs. Morella, Mr. Mrazek, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Nagle, Mr. Neal of Massachusetts, Ms. Oakar, Mr. Oberstar, Mr. Owens of Utah, Mr. Pallone, Mr. Panetta, Mr. Pease, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Penny, Mr. Peterson of Minnesota, Mr. Peterson of Florida, Mr. Poshard, Mr. Price, Mr. Rahall, Mr. Reed, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Roybal, Mr. Sabo, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Sawyer, Mr. Scheuer, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Serrano, Mr. Sharp, Mr. Shays, Mr. Sikorski, Mr. Slattery, Ms. Slaughter of New York, Mr. Stark, Mr. Studds, Mr. Swift, Mr. Tallon, Mr. Torres, Mr. Torricelli, Mr. Traficant, Mr. Traxler, Mr. Udall, Mr. Vento, Mr. Visclosky, Mr. Waxman, Mr. Weiss, Mr. Williams, Mr. Wolpe, Mr. Wyden, and Mr. Yates

A BILL

To amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to restore and strengthen civil rights laws that ban discrimination in employment, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "Civil Rights Act of 1991."

SEC.2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

(a) FINDINGS.--Congress finds that--

(1) in a series of recent decisions addressing employment discrimination claims under Federal law, the Supreme Court cut back dramatically on the scope and effectiveness of civil rights protections; and

(2) existing protections and remedies under Federal law are not adequate to deter unlawful discrimination or to compensate victims of such discrimination.

(b) PURPOSES.--The purposes of this Act are to—

(1) respond to the Supreme Court's recent decisions by restoring the civil rights protections that were dramatically limited by those decisions; and

(2) strengthen existing protections and remedies available under Federal civil rights laws to provide more effective deterrence and adequate compensation for victims of discrimination.

SEC.3. DEFINITIONS

Section 701 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsections:

"(1) The term 'complaining party' means the Commission, the Attorney General, or a person who may bring an action or proceeding under this title.

"(m) The term 'demonstrates' means meets the burdens of production and persuasion.

"(n) The term 'group of employment practices' means a combination of employment practices that produces one or more decisions with respect to employment, employment referral, or admission to a labor organization, apprenticeship or other training or retraining program.

"(o)(1) The term 'required by business necessity' means--

"(A) in the case of employment practices involving selection (such as hiring, assignment, transfer, promotion, training, apprenticeship, referral, retention, or membership in a labor organization), the practice or group of practices must bear a significant relationship to successful performance of the job; or

"(B) in the case of employment practices that do not involve selection, the practice or group of practices must bear a significant relationship to a significant business objective of the employer.

"(2) In deciding whether the standards in paragraph (1) for business necessity have been met, unsubstantiated opinion and hearsay are not sufficient; demonstrable evidence is required. The defendant may offer as evidence statistical reports, validation studies, expert testimony, prior successful experience and other evidence as permitted by the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the court shall give such weight, if any, to such evidence as is appropriate.

"(3) This subsection is meant to codify the meaning of 'business necessity' as used in Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (401 U.S. 424 (1971)) and to overrule the treatment of business necessity as a defense in Wards Cove Packing Co., Inc. v. Atonio (109 S. Ct. 2115 (1989)).

"(p) The term 'respondent' means an employer, employment agency, labor organization, joint labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining programs, including on-the-job training programs, or those Federal entities subject to the provisions of section 717 (or the heads thereof).".

SEC. 4. RESTORING THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN DISPARATE IMPACT CASES.

Section 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-2) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

"(k) PROOF OF UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES IN DISPARATE IMPACT CASES.--(1) An unlawful employment practice based on disparate impact is established under this section when--

"(A) a complaining party demonstrates that an employment practice results in a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and the respondent fails to demonstrate that such practice is required by business necessity; or

"(B) a complaining party demonstrates that a group of employment practices results in a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and the respondent fails to demonstrate that such group of employment practices is required by business necessity, except that--

"(i) except as provided in clause (iii), if a complaining party demonstrates that a group of employment practices results in a disparate impact, such party shall not be required to demonstrate which specific practice or practices within the group results in such disparate impact;

"(ii) if the respondent demonstrates that a specific employment practice within such group of employment practices does not contribute to the disparate impact, the respondent shall not be required to demonstrate that such practice is required by business necessity; and

"(iii) if the court finds that the complaining party can identify, from records or other information of the respondent reasonably available (through discovery or otherwise), which specific practice or practices contributed to the disparate impact--

"(I) the complaining party shall be required to demonstrate which specific practice or practices contributed to the disparate impact; and

"(II) the respondent shall be required to demonstrate business necessity only as to the specific practice or practices demonstrated by the complaining party to have contributed to the disparate impact;

except that an employment practice or group of employment practices demonstrated to be required by business necessity shall be unlawful where a complaining party demonstrates that a different employment practice or group of employment practices with less disparate impact would serve the respondent as well.

"(2) A demonstration that an employment practice is required by business necessity may be used as a defense only against a claim under this subsection.

"(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a rule barring the employment of an individual who currently and knowingly uses or possesses an illegal drug as defined in Schedules I and II of section 102(6) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802(6)), other than the use or possession of a drug taken under the supervision of a licensed health care professional, or any other use or possession authorized by the Controlled Substances Act or any other provision of Federal law, shall be considered an unlawful employment practice under this title only if such rule is adopted or applied with an intent to discriminate because of the race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

"(4) The mere existence of a statistical imbalance in an employer's workforce on account of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is not alone sufficient to establish a prima facie case of disparate impact violation."

SEC. 5. CLARIFYING PROHIBITION AGAINST IMPERMISSIBLE CONSIDERATION OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX OR NATIONAL ORIGIN IN EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES.

(a) IN GENERAL.--Section 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-2) (as amended by section 4) is further amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

"(1) DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE NEED NOT BE SOLE CONTRIBUTING FACTOR.--Except as otherwise provided in this title, an unlawful employment practice is established when the complaining party demonstrates that race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was a contributing factor for any employment practice, even though other factors also contributed to such practice.".

(b) ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS.--Section 706(g) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(g)) is amended by inserting before the period in the last sentence the following: "or, in a case where a violation is established under section 703(1), if the respondent establishes that it would have taken the same action in the absence of any discrimination. In any case in which a violation is established under section 703(1), damages may be awarded only for injury that is attributable to the unlawful employment practice."

SEC. 6. FACILITATING PROMPT AND ORDERLY RESOLUTION OF CHALLENGES TO EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES IMPLEMENTING LITIGATED OR CONSENT JUDGMENTS OR ORDERS.

Section 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-2) (as amended by sections 4 and 5) is further amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

"(m) FINALITY OF LITIGATED OR CONSENT JUDGMENTS OR ORDERS.—

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and except as provided in paragraph (2), an employment practice that implements and is within the scope of a litigated or consent judgment or order resolving a claim of employment discrimination under the United States Constitution or Federal civil rights laws may not be challenged in a claim under the United States Constitution or Federal civil rights laws--

"(A) by a person who, prior to the entry of such judgment or order, had--

"(i) actual notice from any source of the proposed judgment or order sufficient to apprise such person that such judgment or order might affect the interests of such person and that an opportunity was available to present objections to such judgment or order; and

"(ii) a reasonable opportunity to present objections to such judgment or order;

"(B) by a person with respect to whom the requirements of subparagraph (A) are not satisfied, if the court determines that the interests of such person were adequately represented by another person who challenged such judgment or order prior to or after the entry of such judgment or order; or

"(C) if the court that entered the judgment or order determines that reasonable efforts were made to provide notice to interested persons.

A determination under subparagraph (C) shall be made prior to the entry of the judgment or order, except that if the judgment or order was entered prior to the date of the enactment of this subsection, the determination may be made at any reasonable time.

"(2) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to--

"(A) alter the standards for intervention under rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or apply to the rights of parties who have successfully intervened pursuant to such rule in the proceeding in which they intervened;

"(B) apply to the rights of parties to the action in which the litigated or consent judgment or order was entered, or of members of a class represented or sought to be represented in such action, or of members of a group on whose behalf relief was sought in such action by the Federal government;

"(C) prevent challenges to a litigated or consent judgment or order on the ground that such judgment or order was obtained through collusion or fraud, or is transparently invalid or was entered by a court lacking subject matter jurisdiction; or

"(D) authorize or permit the denial to any person of [sic] the due process of law required by the United States Constitution.

"(3) Any action, not precluded under this subsection, that challenges an employment practice that implements and is within the scope of a litigated or consent judgment or order of the type referred to in paragraph (1) shall be brought in the court, and if possible before the judge, that entered such judgment or order. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude a transfer of such action pursuant to section 1404 of title 28, United States Code".

SEC. 7. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS; APPLICATION TO CHALLENGES TO SENIORITY SYSTEMS.

(a) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.--Section 706(e) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(e)) is amended--

(1) by striking out "one hundred and eighty days" and inserting in lieu thereof "2 years";

(2) by inserting after "occurred" the first time it appears "or has been applied to affect adversely the person aggrieved, whichever is later,";

(3) by striking out ", except that in" and inserting in lieu thereof ".In"; and

(4) by striking out "such charge shall be filed" and all that follows through "whichever is earlier, and".

(b) APPLICATION TO CHALLENGES TO SENIORITY SYSTEMS.--Section 703(h) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-2) is amended by inserting after the first sentence the following new sentence: "Where a seniority system or seniority practice is part of a collective bargaining agreement and such system or practice was included in such agreement with the intent to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the application of such system or practice during the period that such collective bargaining agreement is in effect shall be an unlawful employment practice."

SEC. 8. PROVIDING FOR DAMAGES IN CASES OF INTENTIONAL DISCRIMINATION.

Section 706(g) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(g)) is amended by inserting before the last sentence the following new sentences: "With respect to an unlawful employment practice (other than an unlawful employment practice established in accordance with section 703(k)) or in the case of an unlawful employment practice under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (other than an unlawful employment practice established in accordance with paragraph (3)(A) or paragraph (6) of section 102 of that Act) as it relates to standards and criteria that tend to screen out individuals with disabilities)--

"(A) compensatory damages may be awarded; and

"(B) if the respondent (other than a government, government agency, or a political subdivision) engaged in the unlawful employment practice with malice, or with reckless or callous indifference to the federally protected rights of others, punitive damages may be awarded against such respondent;

in addition to the relief authorized by the preceding sentences of this subsection, except that compensatory damages shall not include backpay or any interest thereon. Compensatory and punitive damages and jury trials shall be available only for claims of intentional discrimination. If compensatory or punitive damages are sought with respect to a claim of intentional discrimination arising under this title, any party may demand a trial by jury."

SEC. 9. CLARIFYING ATTORNEY'S FEES PROVISION.

Section 706(k) of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(k)) is amended--

(1) by inserting "(1)" after "(k)";

(2) by inserting "(including expert fees and other litigation expenses) and" after "attorney's fee,";

(3) by striking out "as part of the"; and

(4) by adding at the end thereof the following:

"(2) No consent order or judgment settling a claim under this title shall be entered, and no stipulation of dismissal of a claim under this title shall be effective, unless the parties or their counsel attest to the court that a waiver of all or substantially all attorney's fees was not compelled as a condition of the settlement.

"(3) In any action or proceeding in which any judgment or order granting relief under this title is challenged, the court, in its discretion and in order to promote fairness, may allow the prevailing party in the original action (other than the Commission or the United States) to recover from either an unsuccessful party challenging such relief or a party against whom relief was granted in the original action or from more than one such party under an equitable allocation determined by the court, a reasonable attorney's fee (including expert fees and other litigation expenses) and costs reasonably incurred in defending (as a party, intervenor or otherwise) such judgment or order. In determining whether to allow recovery of fees from the party challenging the initial judgment or order, the court should consider not only whether such challenge was unsuccessful, but also whether the award of fees against the challenging party promotes fairness, taking into consideration such factors as the reasonableness of the challenging party's legal and factual position and whether other special circumstances make an award unjust.".

SEC. 10. PROVIDING FOR INTEREST, AND EXTENDING THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, IN ACTIONS AGAINST THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

Section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-16) is amended--

(1) in subsection (c), by striking out "thirty days" and inserting in lieu thereof "ninety days"; and

(2) in subsection (d), by inserting before the period ", and the same interest to compensate for delay in payment shall be available as in cases involving non-public parties, except that prejudgment interest may not be awarded on compensatory damages".

SEC. 11. CONSTRUCTION.

Title XI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000h et seq.) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new section:

"SEC. 1107. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION FOR CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS.

"(a) EFFECTUATION OF PURPOSE.--All Federal laws protecting the civil rights of persons shall be interpreted consistent with the intent of such laws, and shall be broadly construed to effectuate the purpose of such laws to provide equal opportunity and provide effective remedies.

"(b) NONLIMITATION.--Except as expressly provided, no Federal law protecting the civil rights of persons shall be construed to repeal or amend by implication any other Federal law protecting such civil rights.

"(c) INTERPRETATION.--In interpreting Federal civil rights laws, including laws protecting against discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, and disability, courts and administrative agencies shall not rely on the amendments made by the Civil Rights Act of 1990 as a basis for limiting the theories of liability, rights, and remedies available under civil rights laws not expressly amended by such Act."

SEC. 12. RESTORING PROHIBITION AGAINST ALL RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN THE MAKING AND ENFORCEMENT OF CONTRACTS.

Section 1977 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1981) is amended--

(1) by inserting "(a)" before "All persons within"; and

(2) by adding at the end thereof the following new subsections:

"(b) For purposes of this section, the right to 'make and enforce contracts' shall include the making, performance, modification and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms and conditions of the contractual relationship.

"(c) The rights protected by this section are protected against impairment by nongovernmental discrimination as well as against impairment under color of State law."

SEC. 13. LAWFUL COURT-ORDERED REMEDIES, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND CONCILIATION AGREEMENTS NOT AFFECTED.

Nothing in the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to require or encourage an employer to adopt hiring or promotion quotas on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin: Provided, however, That nothing in the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to affect court- ordered remedies, affirmative action, or conciliation agreements that are otherwise in accordance with the law.

SEC. 14. SEVERABILITY.

If any provision of this Act, or an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstances is held to be invalid, the remainder of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, and the application of such provision to other persons and circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.

SEC. 15. APPLICATION OF AMENDMENTS AND TRANSITION RULES.

(a) APPLICATION OF AMENDMENTS.--The amendments made by--

(1) section 4 shall apply to all proceedings pending on or commenced after June 5, 1989;

(2) section 5 shall apply to all proceedings pending on or commenced after May 1, 1989;

(3) section 6 shall apply to all proceedings pending on or commenced after June 12, 1989;

(4) sections 7(a)(1), 7(a)(3) and 7(a)(4), 7(b), 8, 9, 10, and 11 shall apply to all proceedings pending on or commenced after the date of enactment of this Act;

(5) section 7(a)(2) shall apply to all proceedings pending on or commenced after June 12, 1989; and

(6) section 12 shall apply to all proceedings pending on or commenced after June 15, 1989.

(b) TRANSITION RULES.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--Any orders entered by a court between the effective dates described in subsection (a) and the date of enactment of this Act that are inconsistent with the amendments made by sections 4, 5, 7(a)(2), or 12, shall be vacated if, not later than 1 year after such date of enactment, a request for such relief is made.

(2) SECTION 6.--Any orders entered between June 12, 1989 and the date of enactment of this Act, that permit a challenge to an employment practice that implements a litigated or consent judgment or order and that is inconsistent with the amendment made by section 6, shall be vacated if, not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, a request for such relief is made. For the 1-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, an individual whose challenge to an employment practice that implements a litigated or consent judgment or order is denied under the amendment made by section 6, or whose order or relief obtained under such challenge is vacated under such section, shall have the same right of intervention in the case in which the challenged litigated or consent judgment or order was entered as that individual had on June 12, 1989.

(c) PERIOD OF LIMITATIONS.--The period of limitations for the filing of a claim or charge shall be tolled from the applicable effective date described in subsection (a) until the date of enactment of this Act, on a showing that the claim or charge was not filed because of a rule or decision altered by the amendments made by sections 4, 5, 7(a)(2), or 12.

SEC. 16. CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new section:

"SEC. 719. CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE.

"Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the provisions of this title shall apply to the Congress of the United States, and the means for enforcing this title as such applies to each House of Congress shall be as determined by such House of Congress.".

SEC. 17. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS; NOTICE OF RIGHT TO SUE.

(a) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.--Section 7(d) of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 626(d)) is amended--

(1) in paragraph (1)--

(A) by striking out "180 days" and inserting in lieu thereof "2 years"; and

(B) by inserting "or has been applied to affect adversely the person aggrieved, whichever is later" after "occurred"; and

(2) in paragraph (2), by striking out "within 300 days" and all that follows through "whichever is earlier" and inserting in lieu thereof "a copy of such charge shall be filed by the Commission with the State agency".

(b) NOTICE OF RIGHT TO SUE.--Section 7(e) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 626(e)) is amended--

(1) by striking out paragraph (2);

(2) by striking out the paragraph designation in paragraph (1);

(3) by striking out "Sections 6 and" and inserting "Section"; and

(4) by adding at the end thereof the following: "If a charge filed with the Commission is dismissed by the Commission, the Commission shall so notify the person aggrieved and within 90 days after the giving of such notice a civil action may be brought against the respondent named in the charge by a person defined in section 11 (29 U.S.C. 630).".

SEC. 18. ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION.

Where appropriate and to the extent authorized by law, the use of alternative means of dispute resolution, including settlement negotiations, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, factfinding, minitrials, and arbitration, is encouraged to resolve disputes arising under the Acts amended by this Act.