Research on the advancement of employment protections provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has focused on litigation and the role of civil rights groups in sponsoring this litigation. Yet the role of individual claims in presenting legal arguments for policy decisions at the agency level outside of litigation has been overlooked. Relying upon archival data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), this article demonstrates that individual claims of discrimination can be strategically used to advance specific interpretations of laws and to create social change. In the formative years of the EEOC, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) collected individual claims to pressure the EEOC and Congress to establish affirmative action and other policies designed to advance progressive interpretations of Title VII. As such, claim-based campaigns may be used by interest groups to advance their agendas outside of the judicial system. At the same time, the assistance of the NAACP also reduced the number of claims that were delayed or denied, demonstrating that this type of advocacy has the potential to help claimants receive remedies to rights violations outside of the courts.
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Research Article| October 01 2022
In the Spirit of the Law: The NAACP, EEOC, and Early Race-Based Title VII Claims
National Review of Black Politics (2022) 3 (3-4): 120–140.
Jennifer Woodward; In the Spirit of the Law: The NAACP, EEOC, and Early Race-Based Title VII Claims. National Review of Black Politics 1 October 2022; 3 (3-4): 120–140. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nrbp.2022.3.3-4.120
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