Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Managing Diversity in the Workplace

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Today’s modern workforce is made up of a diverse group of individuals. People of different nationality, race, creed, color, age, sex, and sexual orientation work side by side every day. This diversity has many advantages, but it also ads a level of complexity to management. The potential for discrimination is real, and needs to be managed so as not to incur lawsuits, loss of productivity, and unhealthy working conditions. Happy employees are productive employees, so it is in any organizations best interests to ensure that discrimination does not happen, but unfortunately, it does.
In the assigned hypothetical scenario, John was dismissed and believes he was discriminated against. By understanding the different types of discrimination and the legal recourse of individuals discriminated against organizations can better prepare them selves to avoid similar situations with their employees.
Types of Discrimination
The fist issue John must consider is what type of discrimination was used against him. To limit discrimination in the United States, Congress has passed several laws / acts to discourage the behavior. In 1963 the "Equal Pay Act" was established. This act states that persons within the same organization who are performing similar tasks under similar working conditions must be paid similar wages. In other words, an employer can not pay a man more money than a woman when they are performing the same tasks (EEOC, 1963).
In 1964 Congress passes the Civil Rights Act which allows all persons regardless of race, sex, color, national origin, or religion to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the courts, to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education and prohibits discrimination in regard to employment (EEOC, 2008). In 1967, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was passed which prohibits individuals over 40 from bring discriminated against in terms of employment (EEOC, 2008). Finally in 1973 the Rehabilitation Act was passed then revised in 1990 as the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination against any person with physical and mental disabilities (EEOC, 2008).
Given the number of acts that have been passed it is fair to say that discrimination can be described as any unequal treatment of any person based on sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, color, national origin, or anything else besides skills and abilities. As an employee John has the right, granted by the United States Government, to be treated equally compared to his peers.

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If John was still employed and felt he was being discriminated against the fist step he should take would be to make a formal complaint with his human resources department. Unfortunately, because he has been dismissed he must peruse a legal course of action.
Discrimination Complaint Process
Once John has determined how he has been discriminated against he can decide the best course of action for his clam. If John was working for a private sector or publicly owned company, he has 180 days to file his complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EECO). If John was working for a government agency then the time frame is extended to 300 days. The EEOC's role is to assist individuals who have been discriminated against receive compensation for damages caused by offending organizations. The EEOC will seek compensation in the form of back pay, reinstatement, promotion, reasonable accommodation, and hiring.
The process is initiated by the individual discriminated against. The individual opens a clam either in person, by mail, or via the EECO website. The EECO will assess the clam and determine whether or not it is legitimate. If it is legitimate then they will inform the accused organization that a clam has been made. If the organization agrees the clam is legitimate then the EECO will work with the organization to reward damages. If the organization feels that the clam is not legitimate then the EEOC will issue a notice to the accuser informing them that they are free to peruse the case in court.
Because the Acts are Federal, some cases are brought before Federal Judges. The "Federal courts may decide cases that involve the United States government, the United States Constitution or federal laws, or controversies between states or between the United States and foreign governments. A case that raises such a "federal question" may be filed in federal court.” (US Courts, 2008 5).
Conclusion
Because of the complex nature of working with the diversity found in the modern workplace, organizations need to become educated so they can ensure that they are treating their employees equally. By understanding the different types of discrimination and making sure they stay well within the bounds of equality, organization can mitigate the risk of paying damages to offended parties.
Once John determines how he was discriminated against, he can submit a complaint with the EECO and even take the offending organization to court if necessary.
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