In battle after battle for civil rights in America, fairness has been our nation's guiding principle. It must continue to be our moral compass in our struggle to pass new civil rights legislation protecting against workplace discrimination. That's why I strongly disagree with The Post {''The Civil Rights Bill,'' editorial, June 25} and others who would leave in place a system of civil rights laws under which some but not all people in this country can secure remedies for wrongs they have suffered.

Race discrimination does have a ''special history,'' which makes it an urgent matter of concern, but that history provides no reason for Congress to refuse an effective remedy for all victims of intentional workplace discrimination. I believe it's high time to wipe away these inequities, and that's why I support the Civil Rights Act of 1990 -- every word of it.

The act extends to victims of intentional, harmful discrimination based on sex, religion or national origin the same tough legal remedy now available only in cases of race bias: the right to sue an employer for monetary damages. It isn't a new idea. It's an old idea applied more fairly. As such, it is an essential provision of civil rights legislation designed to take us into the 1990s with laws against workplace bias that are strong enough to accomplish their important job.

The current two-tier system for bias cases doesn't make moral or legal sense. Witness the story of Helen Brooms, a black woman victimized by severe sexual discrimination that left her with lasting emotional and physical scars. Because the discrimination she suffered stemmed from her gender, not her race, she could not recover damages. She could, as she says, ''get justice as a black person but not as a woman.''

Changing the law to remove this inequity would not loose an avalanche of claims upon the courts. We've seen no such deluge of damages claims from racism victims: a recent review of such cases during the 1980s shows them to be infrequent, and the awards reasonable. An entire decade passed with only three plaintiffs winning awards in excess of $200,000 -- a track record that hardly justifies panic about extending this protection to new groups. Of those who sue for damages, the ones with solid cases will win; others will not.

It is painfully ironic that as of today a man who sues a store because he tripped over a floor display has a better shot at winning decent redress than a woman battered daily by on-the-job discrimination or denied a promotion because of sexual stereotyping. To continue to lock women out is to deny the particularly harmful role discrimination plays in our society. This is not just another civil offense: this is a tear in our social fabric, a violation of our nation's ideals.

I object to the implicit attempt by some critics of this legislation to imply a hierarchy among different forms of discrimination. We don't battle this evil effectively by getting ourselves bogged down in discussions over which form it takes is worse. Such a debate can only further divide us as a people. It splits me, a black woman, in half. I am equally outraged against bigotry, whether directed at me as a woman or as a black American. I demand that my government provide me equally strong protections against both forms of bias.

With votes on the substance of this bill fast approaching, it's time to focus the debate on the real issues. And the question our elected officials must decide in the matter of damages is this: Who will bear the cost of intentional, damaging discrimination based on factors other than race? Under the current system, the victims pay -- financially, as well as with their health and well-being. Under the Civil Rights Act, discriminatory employers will pay. I vote for the latter and trust that the president and Congress will too.

The writer is president and chief executive officer of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc.