Assignment 1: Discussion—Discrimination in the Workplace
Laws covering discrimination in the workplace are well known and represent areas in which employers are at maximum risk of violation. One of the challenges is that while employers can structure their policies in an attempt to avoid violations, actions of employees are what often result in allegations. As responsible as employers try to be, they are always at some risk when it comes to claims of discrimination.
Click here to read a list of workplace issues.
Select two issues. For each selected issue, state whether the issue is a legal concern, an ethical concern, or both.
In addition, respond to the following questions for each selected issue:
- Did discrimination occur, or is the policy or situation discriminatory according to the law?
- Is there more than one way to interpret the issue on the basis of relevant legal standards?
- How can the employer prevent such issues from occurring in the first place?
· Sam Parker and Malcolm Antoine apply for an inside sales position with your company. Parker is a thirty-two-year-old Caucasian male, and Antoine is a twenty-five-year-old African American male. They have similar backgrounds, although Parker has been in the workforce for a few years more than Antoine and has a little more experience. However, the hiring manager wants to hire Antoine, claiming that his team is not diverse enough.
· Manny Vargas works for Sunlight International, a retail book company located in Los Angeles, California, where a majority of people speak Spanish. Vargas has been working as a cashier with Sunlight International for three years. The company has fifty-eight employees. Seven of those employees, including Vargas, speak Spanish. Six months ago, Rhoda Woods was hired as Vargas’s new supervisor. Woods notices that every time she checks on Vargas, he appears to be passing negative remarks about her in Spanish among other Spanish-speaking employees. After two months, Woods gets tired of being insulted and decides to implement a rule of speaking only English at Sunlight International.
· Your company has shifted focus from selling mostly small electronics to promoting larger items. This has resulted in an increased burden on the warehouse staff as the items are heavier and difficult to maneuver. Linda Martinez has been working in the warehouse for seven years. At just over 5 feet tall and 110 pounds, she is the smallest warehouse employee. She was an excellent employee but is now struggling to keep up. In an effort to help her, the warehouse manager reassigns her to a job that doesn’t require her to lift as much weight; however, she disagrees with the move and has filed a discrimination claim with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
· Amy Price has been with her company for eleven months. Due to reorganization, she was recently moved from being an inventory clerk to a receptionist. The inventory clerk position was eliminated in the restructuring. Price has never been a stellar employee but is now starting to really struggle. Her manager has counseled her numerous times, taking careful notes of the discussions. As the manager works with the human resources (HR) to document a likely termination, Price announces that she is pregnant. Management goes through with the termination a week after the announcement. A month later, Price files a discrimination claim with the EEOC.
· Jerri Simmons is a Roman Catholic who works for Mackey’s Department Store in Houston, Texas. Simmons is a valuable employee and in the most recent quarter, she sold over $150,000 worth of merchandise in her department. Mackey’s allows its employees only unpaid leave for vacations and does not allow employees to take vacations during the holiday season from November 20 to December 31. Simmons wants to visit the pope during the holy period of December 20 to December 31 and requests leave for the duration, but Mackey’s denies the request. Simmons tells her supervisor that she has no choice but to go on leave because of her religious beliefs. One week later, Mackey’s fires Simmons.
· Dustin Young has worked in the accounting department for twelve years. He has always been a large man but has recently put on significant weight and is now morbidly obese. He requests some modifications to his office and the common areas to accommodate his size, citing that he needs the accommodations to continue working. He is a good employee. But the accommodations total several thousand dollars, and the company isn’t in a position to make the investment. Young quits, and a month later, you learn that he has filed a discrimination claim with the EEOC.
· Ocean Side Bikinis and Things is a retail store in Miami, Florida. The store carries junior sizes only. Ocean Side Bikinis and Things normally asks its employees to wear its clothing while they work. Because of this requirement, most employees are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. Annette Charles is forty-seven years old and a size fourteen and comes to Ocean Side Bikinis and Things for an interview as a manager of retail sales. The store manager tells Charles that he cannot hire her because Charles is unable to fit into the clothing mandated by Ocean Side Bikinis and Things. Charles files a lawsuit claiming discrimination.