Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (10/12/1990)

Civil Rights Act of 1990 - Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide that: (1) once a complainant has demonstrated that an employment practice results in a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the respondent has the burden of proving that the practice is justified by business necessity; (2) in certain circumstances, a complainant need not demonstrate which of a group of practices results in the demonstrated disparate impact; and (3) a respondent need not show business necessity for a specific practice within a group of practices if the respondent shows that that practice is not responsible in whole or in significant part for the disparate impact.

Provides that, unless the respondent has destroyed, concealed, refused to produce, or failed to keep records necessary to make the showing: (1) the complainant must demonstrate which specific practice or practices are responsible for such impact; and (2) the respondent must show a business necessity for such practice. Declares that if a complainant demonstrates that a different employment practice or group of employment practices with less disparate impact would serve the respondent as well, the existing practice or group of practices causing a disparate impact, notwithstanding demonstrated business necessity, shall be unlawful.

Makes a rule barring the employment of an individual who currently and knowingly uses or possesses an illegal drug, except in certain circumstances, an unlawful employment practice under this Act only if such rule is adopted or applied with an intent to discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

States that 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.

Declares that an unlawful employment practice is established on a demonstration that race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was a motivating factor for any employment practice, even though such practice was also motivated by other factors. Allows declaratory and injunctive relief and attorney's fees and costs, but bars damages if the respondent establishes that it would have taken the same action in the absence of any discrimination.

Prohibits a challenge to an employment practice that implements a litigated or consent judgment or order resolving a claim of employment discrimination: (1) entered before 30 days after enactment of this Act, by a person who had certain types of notice and opportunity, by a person whose interests were adequately represented by another person who challenged the judgment or order, if reasonable efforts were made to provide notice to interested persons; or (2) entered after 30 days after enactment of this Act, by an employee, former employee, or applicant who had actual notice, or who failed to receive actual notice despite the diligent and best efforts of the parties, or by a person whose interests were adequately represented by another person who challenged the judgment or order.

Increases to two years the time limit within which a charge of an unlawful employment practice must be filed. Removes provisions setting a separate time limit for charges initially filed with a State or local agency.

Declares that a seniority system or practice which is part of a collective bargaining agreement is an unlawful employment practice if it was included in the agreement with the intent to discriminate.

Allows, with respect to certain unlawful employment practices, including certain unlawful employment practice cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, for compensatory damages (but not back pay) and, where there is malice, reckless, or callous indifference, for punitive damages. Makes compensatory and punitive damages and jury trials available only for claims of intentional discrimination. Permits any party, where compensatory or punitive damages are sought, to demand a jury trial.

Sets forth a limit on the award of punitive damages.

Includes expert fees and other litigation expenses in any attorney's fees awarded. Prohibits a consent order or judgment settling a claim unless the parties and their counsel attest that a waiver of attorneys' fees was not compelled as a condition of the settlement. Allows to the prevailing party in the original action an award of attorney's fees and costs in defending a challenged judgment or order.

Increases to 90 days after final action by a Federal agency the time limit for a Federal employee to bring a civil action. Allows to Federal employees the same interest to compensate for delay in payment as in cases involving non-public parties, except that prejudgment interest may not be awarded on compensatory damages.

Requires Federal civil rights laws to be broadly construed to effect their purpose to provide equal opportunity and effective remedies.

Prohibits the courts and administrative agencies in interpreting Federal civil rights laws from relying on the amendments made by this Act as a basis for limiting the theories of liability, rights, and remedies available under civil rights laws not expressly amended by it.

Declares that, for purposes of provisions relating to equal rights under the law, the right to make and enforce contracts includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.

Declares that the rights protected by this Act are protected against impairment by non-governmental discrimination as well as against impairment under color of State law.

Declares that: (1) the Senate reaffirms its commitment to its rule prohibiting employment discrimination within the Senate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or physical handicap; (2) the rights and protections provided under this Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 shall apply to employment by the Senate; (3) the rights and protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 apply with respect to the conduct of the Senate regarding matters other than employment; (4) notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Senate has exclusive enforcement and adjudication power; and (5) these provisions are enacted by the Senate as an exercise of the Senate's rulemaking power and may be changed as any other Senate rule.

Declares that: (1) the rights and protections under title VII (Equal Employment Opportunities) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply with respect to any employee in an employment position in the House of Representatives and any of its employment authorities; (2) administration shall be handled as set forth in a specified House Resolution; and (3) these provisions are enacted by the House of Representatives as an exercise of its rulemaking power and may be changed as any other House rule.

Declares that the rights and protections under this Act apply with respect to the conduct of the Architect of the Capitol, the Congressional Budget Office, the General Accounting Office, the Government Printing Office, the Office of Technology Assessment, and the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Amends the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to increase to two years the time limit within which an age discrimination charge must be filed. Requires the Commission to notify the person aggrieved if such charge is dismissed by the Commission. Allows a civil suit to be brought after the dismissal.

Encourages the use of alternative means of dispute resolution to resolve disputes arising under the Acts amended by this Act.