Employment in Discrimination

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To ensure that the vulnerable are appropriately safeguarded against unfair and unjust treatment, laws are passed. Workplace discrimination and harassment are covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Moran, 2014). According to the Act, all workers must be treated fairly and without discrimination based on their sex, religion, race, color, or nationality.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment relies on the justification that an employee must perform sexual favors in exchange for compensation. As such, a superior in the workplace may demand that an employee agrees to his or her sexual demands in order to get some form of benefit which could be a promotion or renewal of a contract. In order for a victim of sexual harassment to present his or her case to the EEOC, the following requirements must be met. The victim must not have agreed or given consent to the sexual advances made by another employee, the victim must belong to one of the protected class, the case must relate to gender, the sexual harassment incident must have taken place in the work settings, the harassment should have harmful impact on the employee and the case must relate to sex (Moran, 2014).

Sexual Harassments – Hostile Environment

An employee cans justice on the basis of a hostile working environment by providing proof that he or she was sexually harassed through intimidation, exposure to offensive and unwelcome sexual behavior by senior employees, management or colleagues (Avery and Fisk, 2010). Furthermore, the act must be persistent and severe to the extent that the workplace becomes a hostile environment for the employee; therefore, they cannot perform their duties.

Religious Harassment

A person may present his or her case in the event that derogatory or offensive remarks are made on the basis of religious affiliation. A religious harassment claim should be severe to the extent that it compromises an employee’s ability to discharge his or her duties adequately.

Racial Harassments

An employee may file a case in the event that he or she is being exposed or subjected to derogatory comments, slur, and behavior on the basis of race; hence, a hostile work environment is created. The harassment on the basis of race can be directed at both employees and management. However, the case must first be reported to the employer if the culprit is another person. The employer must take adequate measures to remedy the situation as required by the law. Failure to do so would qualify the employer as culpable and liable for allowing a work environment that encourages harassment.

Question 2

Sexual harassment can be defined as a situation where an employee is hassled by a senior worker (management, supervisors) or co-workers through unwarranted offensive remarks, demanding sexual favors, or showing inappropriate images and pictures. The culprit will consistently demand sexual favors to the extent that they can be construed as blackmail or obsessive behavior (Avery & Fisk, 2010). Gender discrimination refers to a situation where a person is subjected to prejudicial treatment on the basis of their sex. Discrimination based on sexual orientation can be defined as being harassed or denied work-related benefits on the basis of sexual preference such as being gay or lesbian.

Question 3

A person can be protected from being discriminated through the application of the Genetics Information Nondiscriminatory Act of 2008. The Act provides that an employer cannot use an individual’s genetic information as an excuse or a basis for discrimination. Consequently, employers cannot rely on an individual’s genetic information to discriminate especially if a family member succumbed to breast cancer or any other form of cancer. The death of a family member is not applicable as a factor that may influence productivity in the workplace.

Question 4

Such a case may occur in a situation where a manager asks an employee to join him after work on a date. The employee is not interested and refuses, but the manager keeps persisting and pestering the employee repeatedly to agree to the request. The manager uses a business dinner as an excuse, and since the employee is required by company policy to attend such meetings, he or she is obliged to attend. In the course of the dinner, the manager states categorically that unless the employee agrees to go on a date with him/her, the employee will not be considered for contract renewal. Though the employee is distressed, he or she does not agree and is fired from work. Such a situation demonstrates pervasive and severe working environment that is hostile and difficult to work. In addition, the situation presented a quid pro quo scenario since the employee could only retain his or her job on agreeing to the manager’s advances.

Question 5

Companies should have validly written policies against any and all forms of harassment. In addition, they should take precautions to ensure that all employees are informed, educated and trained on the identification and prevention of harassment in the workplace. Employees should be informed in a clear and concise manner the punitive measures that may be imposed should they contravene policy requirements. In the event an incident occurs, the management must prove that preventative measures were in place and remediation occurred to avoid liability.

Question 6

An employer cannot demand female customers be served by female employees or male customers be served by male employees. Such a demand is against the law as provided under the Civil Rights Act and constitutes discrimination on the basis of gender. Gender preference should not be a factor when providing services to clients irrespective of gender. However, in the event that there is a requirement for occupation qualification that specifies that a certain task can only be performed by men or women, then such a case may be exempt from discrimination (Smith, Craver, & Turner, 2016).

Question 7

The American Disability Act (ADA) states that any employer fifteen or more employees is subject to the act and may be liable if he or she contravenes its provisions.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is applicable to employees with fifteen or more employees.

Title VII is applicable to employers with fifteen or more employees, and they must have been employed for a period equivalent to or more than 20 weeks in a single calendar year.

IRCA is applicable to all employers that have four or more employees.

GINA is applicable when there the number of employees is fifteen or more.

Question 8

As the head of HRM department, I have determined that the organization’s harassment policy does not include racial, religious and sexual orientation provisions. While the sexual anti-harassment policies are important, these provisions are equally significant in promoting a fair, just and equitable working environment.

Among the EEOC cases reviewed, the one that stood out was in regard to the “Taprite Fassco Company that was required to pay $72,500 in order to settle EEOC sex, disability and retaliation discrimination suit” (EEOC, 2015). The company discriminated against a female employee through gender-based wage discrimination, discrimination on the basis of disability and illegal retaliation. The retaliation case arose after the employee pointed out the wage disparity between male and female workers. The lawsuit revealed that the company was paying its male employees more than three dollars an hour in contrast to female employees doing the same task at the same time and in the same locale. The company retaliated against the employee for pointing out the disparity and demoted her to a lower job that paid less than her previous position. The case demonstrated that the company refused to provide her with reasonable accommodation considering her disability that involved carpal tunnel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis.

Case study: Maetta Vance vs. Ball State University

1. In the case, the plaintiff, Ms. Vance is a black woman who has instituted proceedings against the employer, Ball State University for a hostile work environment on the basis of racial discrimination. The supervisor, a Ms. Davis made racial slurs and threats of physical harm making the work environment hostile.

2. The court ruled that there was inadequate evidence to prove the existence of a hostile work environment. The court also ruled that Ms. Davis did not qualify as her supervisor and could not make “tangible employment decisions,” such as hiring, disciplining, demoting or firing an employee. Her authority was limited to overseeing and directing the employee’s duties. The court ruled that the employer was not liable for the actions of other employees. Though the plaintiff appealed, the ruling of the lower court was upheld.

3. The case influenced the employment landscape by demonstrating that same-sex individuals (in this case, women) can be subjected to hostile working conditions and sexual harassment. Employers were informed that sexual harassment can occur in same-sex situations and is not confined to male-female scenarios and vice versa. As such, employers were informed to review their sexual harassment and discrimination policies and make amendments accordingly.

4. Though the plaintiff lost the case, it brought significant developments to the employment landscape by creating awareness that same-sex sexual harassment incidents can occur in the workplace and employers must take appropriate measures to remedy such a situation. The case was a major milestone since it introduced much-needed amendments to the law that covered and protected everyone irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.

Legal Research: Healthy Families Act

1. The Healthy Families Act was introduced as a bill to the 114th congress in 02/12/2015 (U.S. Congress, 2016).

2. The enactment of the bill would create a new law that provides for paid off-time.

3. The enactment of the bill would significantly change the work dynamic for employees. All qualifying employees, those that are employed in a accompany that has fifteen or more employees and have been working for a period equivalent or more than 20 weeks, will be allocated “one hour of paid leave for every thirty hours” that they have worked. In the case of firms with less than fifteen employees, they may provide similar benefits or opt out; however, they must provide at least 56 hours of paid sick leave every calendar year to each employee(U.S. Congress, 2016).

The law aims to ensure that employees are given time to tend to their sick and care for their individual health while providing a means to cover health costs. In the event that an employee does not use his or her sick leave, it can be taken to the next calendar year.

4. I concur with the provisions of the bill and would give it my vote in an effort to make the work environment especially in the private sector more secure and safe for employees. There are millions of employees in the country who do not have access to paid leave, and often faced with a dilemma of whether to take sick leave and lose wages or remain in their jobs and risk their health.

References

Avery, D., & Fisk, C. (2010). Overview of the law of workplace harassment. Retrieved from http://apps.americanbar.org/abastore/products/books/abstracts/5190452%20intro_abs.pdf

EEOC. (2015). Taprite Fassco to Pay $72,500 to Settle EEOC Sex, Disability, and Retaliation Discrimination Suit. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-31-15.cfm

Moran, J. J. (2014). Employment law: New challenges in the business environment. NJ: Prentice Hall.

Smith, A. B., Craver, C. B., & Turner, R. (2016). Employment discrimination law: Cases and materials.

U.S. Congress. (2016). H.R.932 – Healthy Families Act. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/932

March 15, 2023
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