The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in variety of settings, including public accommodations, government services, education, and employment.  The law has been amended by legislation and executive order numerous times since its passage in 1964.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to private employers, labor unions, and employment agencies, and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, or national origin.  Title VII also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is responsible for enforcing Title VII and other federal employment laws.
What Employers Are Subject to Title VII?  Title VII generally applies to any employer who is engaged in an industry affecting commerce and who has fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such an employer.  See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b).
What Does Title VII Prohibit?  Title VII provides that it is an unlawful employment practice for a covered employer to:

  1. Fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or
  2. Limit, segregate, or classify employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a).
Takeaways:  Employers need to be aware of their obligations under Title VII and ensure that their practices are in compliance with the law.  Employers in Minnesota also need to be aware of their obligations under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment for additional reasons, such as marital status, status with regard to public assistance, and sexual orientation.