Discrimination

All posts tagged Discrimination

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Laws – Part 2

Published September 25, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

Ethics

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Theories

Managers with an awareness of discrimination laws from a variety of vantage points, including ethics, can produce a more successful working environment and avoid lawsuits. Ethical theories help leaders decide what is morally acceptable. Geisler (1989) suggests that ethics can be defined in terms of what the organization deems as morally right and that each company creates its own set of ethical standards (Geisler, 1989). In a business environment, leaders look to their own views of morality and ethics to assist them in the decision making process. However, there are times when a leader is confronted with making a decision and is required to determine whether it is more important for the organization to engage in ethical practices or lawful ones. For example, when a claimant files a sexual harassment charge, they are seeking restitution for the violations they experience. In this situation, employers are obligated to manage both the legal ramifications as well as the ethical ones. In other words, while the proceedings are taking place, the employer must take the necessary steps to allow the justice system to prevail, while employers do what they can to support the individual that is suffering, rather than participate in efforts to isolate and humiliate the plaintiff further.

It is the employer’s responsibility to cultivate a climate that personnel feel safe in. Employees that experience discrimination feel unvalued and inadequate. In addition, employees that are subjected to sexual discrimination and harassment experience more physical and psychological problems. Employers need to protect themselves from these events occurring because victims have the support of the legal system to engage attorneys that will pursue restitution. Seaquist (2012) explains laws concern themselves with issues of right and wrong with the administration of justice. Business leaders should also take into consideration the topics of ethics and morality to help their personnel identify more clearly what is considered acceptable and unacceptable conduct (Seaquist, 2012). For example, business leaders that apply the ethical absolutism theory, accept that there are certain universal parameters that determine what is right and wrong. If stealing is wrong for instance, then it is always considered wrong regardless of the situation. Therefore a business leader that incorporates ethical absolutism will always consider stealing morally wrong. However, if the culture in a business has an open attitude towards sexual harassment and views this behavior as boys just being boys, then in an ethical absolutism environment, sexual harassment is accepted as morally right. Simply put, in an environment where many of the employees in upper management are engaged in extramarital affairs, these executives tend to hire employees that embrace the same attitude, or have a disposition in which they are happy to look the other way, or go with the flow, when it comes to ethical misconduct. Not only are personnel conditioned to accept this behavior, many in fact subscribe that there is nothing morally wrong with it. Corporations that cultivate a culture of religious fundamentalism on the other hand, base their code of ethics on scriptures written by prophets and would most likely reject a concept like this.  It is highly probable that they would view sexual discrimination and harassment as a sin and morally incomprehensible.

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Culture

American culture is slowly emerging from a patriarchal society that supported the male sexual dominance of women and employers that control their workers. For example, many corporate department heads from a former place of employment, hired assistants that were physically attractive with an uninhibited free spirit and disposition. Furthermore, they supported an environment that consisted of an open flirtatious atmosphere established by the leaders with various incentives like compensation, pay raises, promotions, free merchandise, or tickets and backstage passes to special events, the use of company limousines, and other similar perks to encourage and support that behavior. Sexual harassment complaints in this kind of culture are typically nonexistent because of the climate that has been cultivated by the supervisors that everyone conforms to, including low level employees.  In other words, they are able to maintain an unethical atmosphere because candidates for hire were only considered and remained as long as they embraced the established culture.

Employers also set the tone of a work environment by the people they hire. Adler’s (2013) research also indicates that many employers have a difficult time hiring and recruiting the best candidates because they are ineffective at implementing strategies to attract top performers (Adler, 2013).  One of the reasons for this is that many leaders have unhealthy perceptions of employee and subordinate roles in the workplace, especially those hired as personal or administrative assistants. Many executives view their assistants for example, as a reflection of themselves and therefore hire staff members that represent of a certain kind of image they deem appropriate for their department. For instance, in a corporate situation, the head of the legal department may hire staff members that adopt a conservative style based on skills and knowledge to represent the group of attorneys that operate that division. The publicity and promotion departments on the other hand, may hire staff members based on artistic and creative skills.  Staff members may consist of  more free spirited people with an open attitude, youthful drive and energy. In other words, the department heads set the atmosphere for the climate and ethical culture they develop and hire staff members that are an organizational fit in that arena.

There is no single law that covers all workers in the US. Walsh (2013) reminds us that employment laws consist of a patchwork of federal, state, and local laws that continue to evolve and are contingent upon many components including the size of the organization (Walsh, 2013). For example, as mentioned previously, many supervisors hire personal assistants based on certain components including, age, appearance, and physical type rather than seek individuals that are qualified with skills and knowledge. In addition, there are many executives that tend to view assistants as their trophy, rather than a skilled person best qualified for the job. This is indicative of a climate where women are perceived as objects, rather than individuals capable of innovation and considerable contribution to an organization’s success. In addition, these females are also viewed and discriminated against by other staff members of the same sex as well. For example, when I was hired as an administrative assistant in the music industry, issues of discrimination immediately began to surface in the corporate arena.  It was evident from the behavior of other staff members of the same gender and equal rank that I was an outsider to them. I later discovered that some of the women even jokingly referred to me as the new dish. In short, other staff members automatically made a judgment based on appearances, not because of my level of skills and knowledge. Rather than embrace and welcome me as a new employee, they engaged in acts of discrimination, making me feel isolated and friendless. In some cases, many employers and employees do not have a clear set of identifying acceptable and unacceptable relationship boundaries. This also fosters unhealthy relationships.

Legalities

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Legal and Political Aspects

Business leaders that understand the legal and political perspective of discrimination issues, are more likely to achieve the best legal outcomes. Palumbo and Wolfson (2011) suggest that patriarchal systems can also influence behavioral patterns that are enforced, legitimized, and perpetuated in a business arena (Palumbo & Wolfson, 2011). These systems can have a significant influence on politics and policy making. For instance, fundamental religion has played a significant role in the world in that many leaders use this position to justify totalitarian actions that are based on absolutist ideals. Leaders in this climate, reveal their ethical principles by the type of legal systems that support them. For example, the civil law system that is common in most of the European Countries (EC) meticulously outlines individual rights and responsibilities. In its quick implementation of justice and with limited power of judicial interpretation, it reinforces an absolutist kind of ethical philosophy with systems that require strict compliance to statutes that guide behavior and leave little room for deviation.

Common law systems, on the other hand, like those established in the US, leave wide latitude for interpretation and provide a multi-faceted frame for the appellate courts to determine (Palumbo & Wolfson, 2011). In other words, civil laws leave little room for misinterpretation, while common law offers latitude for litigants to argue. For example, in a country where civil laws pervade, a sexual harassment issue can be resolved quickly by the laws. In a country where common law systems pervade, both sides of the case must produce substantial evidence to support their position and in many instances, the defense will engage in tactics that degrade, belittle, and present the victim in an unfavorable manner to provide reasonable doubt with respect to a claim. Because of this, many victims do not come forward to avoid the humiliation of such an experience in addition to the violation they are processing and working to recover from.

References:

Adler, L. (2013). The essential guide for hiring and getting hired. Atlanta, GA: Workbench Media.

Chopra, D. (2013, August 16). 21 day meditation challenge: Miraculous relationships. Retrieved August 16, 2103, from chopracentermeditation.com: https://chopracentermeditation.com

Clarkson, K., & Miller, R. (2012). Business law: Text and cases: Legal, ethical, global and corporate environment. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Fredman, S. (2011). Discrimination law. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Gordon, L. (2007). The sexual harrassment handbook. Franklin Lakes, NJ: The Career Press, Inc.

Hanh, T. (2012). Work: How to find joy and meaning in each hour of the day. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

MacKinnon, C. (1979). Sexual harrassment of working women. Boston, MA: Yale University.

McGraw, P. (2012). Life code. Los Angeles, CA, USA: Bird Street Books.

Palumbo, C., & Wolfson, B. (2011). The law of sex discrimination (Fourth ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Rassas, L. (2011). Employment law: a guide to hiring, managing, and firing employers and employees. New York, NY: Aspen Publishers.

Seaquist, G. (2012). Business law for managers. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Walsh, D. (2013). Employment law for human resource practice. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Wilde, S. (1987). Life was never meant to be a struggle. Carlsbad, CA, USA: Hay House, Inc.

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Laws – Part 1

Published September 23, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

Introduction

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Business leaders face many challenges and issues in the work place and are required to manage them effectively as they surface in order to maintain a successful and comfortably safe working environment. Clarkson and Miller (2012) recommend that organizational leaders become educated in business law in order to function in the modern world citing that anyone who embarks on a professional career, whether in medicine, science, entertainment, government, or accounting, will benefit from knowledge of contracts, real and intellectual property law, landlord-tenant partnerships as well as other significant legal matters (Clarkson & Miller, 2012). For example, when a manager invites a new employee to join the organization and makes it clear the candidate was chosen because of their credentials and top performance levels, rather than being welcomed or embraced, the new hire discovers many are jealous and exclude the individual from participating in significant meetings or social events. Soon, the new recruit starts to feel alone and isolated. This is an example of one form of discrimination that takes place in the business world. One of the most difficult forms of discrimination employers can face, however, is sexual discrimination, if and when they are forced to deal with a complaint that is filed. Seaquist (2012) suggests that although many of these cases can be settled out of court or through mediation, charges of sexual discrimination are a very serious matter that continues to present problems businesses and women confront on a daily basis in the modern world (Seaquist, 2012). The focus of this research is centered on the analysis of the legal and ethical situations relating to sexual discrimination and harassment issues in a business environment. The analysis will include a brief explanation to offer a more concise definition as well as provide a brief background on the subject. In addition, it will include a discussion on the ethical concerns and how discrimination laws are applied citing examples to support the study. The research will also include a look at the liability exposure employers can face as well as provide recommendations for improvement and suggest prevention plans that leaders can implement to avoid facing litigation and costly damages. The study will conclude that even though it takes an enormous amount of energy, understanding the legalities and complexities of business law with respect to discrimination and sexual harassment situations can help employers avoid litigation and maintain a safe working environment.

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Analysis of Sexual Discrimination and Harassment

The Backstory

Smart business leaders recognize that knowledge in discrimination law puts them in a better position to create and enforce a climate that will prevent occurrences and behavior that encourages discrimination or sexual harassment because it can lead to costly lawsuits. For example, when women initially entered into the workforce, they began to experience a variety of discrimination issues.  In fact, many were discouraged from working outside of the household and often chastised. This attitude reflected the culture of that time, in that women had been conditioned to accept their role in society as the primary caretaker of the home and family while providing support toward their husbands careers. Once women entered the labor force, however, they were introduced to more kinds of discrimination including lower wages, exclusion from participating in certain occupations, and many were exposed to intimate violation in the form of sexual discrimination, harassment, and abuse at their job. In fact, not only are women victims of this behavior, they are often subjected to society’s failure to recognize that sexual harassment is another form of abuse like bullying and generally accepted as taboo. In other words, this behavior is typical in a patriarchal society that accepts this conduct as boys being boys, while the women are left to confront the traumatic experiences of the effects from it, as well as process and examine their own perceptions, which for the most part, were usually not supported. Today, many women still feel humiliated, ashamed, and fearful to come forward to avoid ridicule and further stress because the system does not provide adequate support systems to defend these victims.

Dating co-workers is not a new concept. People work long hours together, overcome challenges and share victories. As a result, they develop bonds and friendships that can lead to romantic relationships. This can bring great joy and fulfillment as well as create a hostile atmosphere. Many companies have policies against romantic liaisons for those reasons. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear executives spewing remarks like, “We don’t fish off the company pier,” from those resolved to comply with corporate mandates. MacKinnon’s (1979) studies reveal that the intimate violation of both women and men is common in American society and concludes that the behavior is typically contained by a patriarchal structure of power that works diligently to keep the topic nearly inaudible. In addition, men’s control over women’s material survival, education, and occupational advancements for example, have become institutionalized in many patriarchal systems (MacKinnon, 1979). Unfortunately, these patterns have been enforced for thousands of years and slow to change because of the complexities associated with them.

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Identifying Sexual Discrimination and Harassment

Discrimination and harassment issues are difficult to manage because it makes people have to confront the the topic of inequality. The first step business leaders can take to prevent sexual discrimination and harassment is to have a clear understanding of what it means. For example, in a sex discrimination case, if an employer deliberately discriminates against a female in the work place, it is called disparate treatment. Should the claim go to court there is a three step process the plaintiff must go through to present the burdens of proof. Should the defendant succeed in convincing the court there was a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason, the burden then shifts back to the plaintiff to prove the defendant’s position is false and inaccurate. According to Title VII and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, the plaintiff must demonstrate a preponderance of evidence that supports the following criteria: (a) the individual is a member of a protected class; (b) the plaintiff was meeting the employer’s expectations; (c) the plaintiff suffered from the experience, (d) other workers of equal status outside the protected class were exposed to differential treatment. Furthermore, MacKinnon (1979) stated that the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution guarantees that no state shall deny an individual equal protection of the law. According to the inequality approach, sexual harassment is viewed as sexual discrimination and seen as a disadvantage to women as a gender within a social context in which a female’s sexuality and material survival depends on, to the woman’s detriment (MacKinnon, 1979). In simple terms sexual discrimination can be defined as the unwanted acts and imposition individuals experience that is based on sexual requirements that takes place in a business relationship of unequal power.

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People have been fighting for equality since they discovered what that term meant. Fredman (2011) however, contends that equality is an ideal whose meaning shifts the closer it is scrutinized. In the meantime, the legal system recognizes and acknowledges two general types of sexual discrimination and harassment issues: (a) quid pro quo harassment, which can translate into the form of a promotion, hiring, or salary hike in exchange for intimate favors; and (b) an environment that promotes sexual harassment where workers are exposed to behavior including unwanted sexual advances, lewd comments, innuendos, or jokes (Fredman, 2011). For example, in the Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986) court case, the plaintiff was required to provide evidence that discrimination had transpired, was based on sex, and created a hostile or abusive environment (Seaquist, 2012). This situation occurs when supervisors and managers have failed to take steps to implement programs and enforce policies that discourage inappropriate actions or have not successfully educated employees to refrain from engaging in this type of ethical misconduct.

Identifying discrimination laws also protects employees. For example, workers educated in sexual discrimination are better suited to identify it, or come forward to support others they suspect are being exposed to harassment from supervisors or other figures of authority who coercively initiate unwanted advances, favors, or pressures. Furthermore, employees that are not aware of their rights are susceptible to becoming harassment victims themselves, especially in situations where they lack or do not reciprocate feelings towards the individual making the advances.

Many victims are also silent when these events occur, because they are fearful of losing their job or facing other serious repercussions.  Gordon (2007) suggests that there are laws that prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. They require that staff members identify and separate different kinds of sexual interactions. Although the theory seems simple, often it is not easy to approach because there are a variety of effective solutions individuals can take when they are approached by a direct supervisor or an influential authoritative figure that has control over their career (Gordon, 2007). For example, an individual with a history of abuse that enters the workplace may have challenges identifying boundary issues because of the abhorrent conditions and acts of violation from their own past experiences. Most victims of abuse are uneducated and ignorant of their rights. Unfortunately, many out of fear and survival protect their abusers and remain silent. Other individuals with self-esteem issues that typically result from the complexities of a fatherless upbringing can bond and develop affection towards their violators and even protect them. In short, many individuals that have been sexually victimized do not have the effective tools, knowledge, and self-esteem to rely on as a defense mechanism. Many experience anxiety over the possibility of termination from the supervisor that initiated the sexual advances or pressured them using their position of power to do so. People that are not empowered are not only vulnerable to abusers, but are defenseless because they lack the confidence, courage, and support to come forward.

References

Adler, L. (2013). The essential guide for hiring and getting hired. Atlanta, GA: Workbench Media.

Chopra, D. (2013, August 16). 21 day meditation challenge: Miraculous relationships. Retrieved August 16, 2103, from chopracentermeditation.com: https://chopracentermeditation.com

Clarkson, K., & Miller, R. (2012). Business law: Text and cases: Legal, ethical, global and corporate environment. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Fredman, S. (2011). Discrimination law. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Gordon, L. (2007). The sexual harrassment handbook. Franklin Lakes, NJ: The Career Press, Inc.

Hanh, T. (2012). Work: How to find joy and meaning in each hour of the day. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

MacKinnon, C. (1979). Sexual harrassment of working women. Boston, MA: Yale University.

McGraw, P. (2012). Life code. Los Angeles, CA, USA: Bird Street Books.

Palumbo, C., & Wolfson, B. (2011). The law of sex discrimination (Fourth ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Rassas, L. (2011). Employment law: a guide to hiring, managing, and firing employers and employees. New York, NY: Aspen Publishers.

Seaquist, G. (2012). Business law for managers. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Walsh, D. (2013). Employment law for human resource practice. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Wilde, S. (1987). Life was never meant to be a struggle. Carlsbad, CA, USA: Hay House, Inc.

Employment Anti-Discrimination Laws – Part 1

Published September 13, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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One of the most significant tasks business leaders face is attracting and recruiting employees that are top level performers.  In fact Adler’s (2013) research revealed that few hiring managers even consider implementing effective strategies. Furthermore, they do not work in partnership with potential hires, nor do they consider enlisting the help of coaches to attract top performers. For example, most companies still post bland, uninteresting job descriptions, crossing their fingers in hope that they will find the ideal individual who is an organizational fit. In addition, the most shocking aspect of this is that most business leaders focus their resources and efforts going after the 17% of candidates who are actively seeking employment, yet desire to employ the 83% who are not looking for work (Adler, 2013). This research is focused on systems that hiring managers can implement to recruit potential top level performers while avoiding the violation of any employment or anti-discrimination laws.

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To examine the process more effectively, a false scenario is examined that provides an example of skills and hiring techniques that may be useful in recruiting a new full-time departmental employee. For the purpose of this study, the focus is centered on filling an opening position for an administrative assistant. The case study includes a detailed description of the position that is in compliance with federal laws. In addition, to attract top performers, an advertisement has been included that is intended to be directed at social media outlets and job recruiting websites. Also included in the research, to support the analysis, is a series of legal and illegal questions that provide a few samples to illustrate topics hiring managers are permitted to inquiry about and the manner in which to draw out information that is in accordance with EEOC mandates, as well as those that are in violation of them. This research will conclude that hiring managers who are not trained or are unfamiliar with employment and anti-discrimination laws can make poor decisions in the hiring process, risking litigation and exuberant fines.

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The Hiring Process

Employers want to hire top performers, but most are not cognizant of doing so in effective ways and avoid violating anti-discrimination and other significant employment laws. For example, Adler (2013) purports there are a variety of reasons that hiring managers have a hard time finding the best recruits, including that: (a) employers depend on a surplus of candidates during the hiring process, but seek them in a talent scarce environment; (b) candidates do not know how to engage in the hiring game; and (c) few hiring managers take responsibility for attracting quality candidates because they are focused on attracting quantity, hoping to discover that diamond in the rough. These are all significant issues that need to be addressed, dissected, understood, and reframed in a strategic manner to produce the most effective hiring programs that will attract top talent  (Adler, 2013).  Taking these components into consideration, hiring managers must also comprehend why people perform at peak levels while others underperform. Most hiring managers, however, maintain a preconceived notion that employers can remedy any situation that arises after the fact.

Next week’s post will have the conclusion with components that have been designed as an example to illustrate one effective method of how hiring managers can attract top level performers including job description, advertisement, as well as samples of legal and illegal questions that hiring managers can ask.

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References

Adler, L. (2013). The essential guide for hiring and getting hired. Atlanta, GA: Workbench Media.

McKee, P. (2012). How to answer interview questions. Atlanta, GA: Career Confidential.

Rassas, L. (2011). Employment law: a guide to hiring, managing, and firing employers and employees. New York, NY: Aspen Publishers.

Seaquist, G. (2012). Business law for managers. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Discrimination

Published September 11, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

Discrimination

Laws and doctrines help establish the choices that determine the rights of citizens in society regardless of gender, race, or age. Palumbo and Wolfson (2011) explain that many social systems emerged from ancient roots that were cultivated to treat people differently based on the race or sex. In addition, although evidence suggests early matriarchal traditions existed, patriarchal models have dominated Western civilization for millennia (Palumbo & Wolfson, 2011). In fact, the rise of patriarchy produced the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over family and society as a whole. Furthermore, men held power in all important facets of society. In short, a patriarchal system has been enforced, cultivated, legitimated, and perpetuated in a variety of manners throughout the ages and supported by religion and laws. In modern society, however, these practices are now viewed as a form of discrimination that federal government agencies like the EEOC, oversee based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Solicitors-Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace is an ongoing issue in the evolution of humanity. According to Seaquist (2012) discrimination in a business environment affects not only the individual, but the climate of the company as a whole (Seaquist, 2012). A leader’s best defense, as in any legal issue, is to keep meticulous records, develop effective strategies and policies to discourage discrimination and incorporate systems to monitor behavior that include checks and balances. The challenge, however, that most leaders face, is that there are many forms of discrimination; it is not isolated to race, age, or sex only. In fact, discrimination can appear in the form of class, level of academics, religious preferences, and even based on the kind of pet an individual has. Discrimination in short is a concept that creates separation and distrust in people because it focuses on their “inequalities.”

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Many of the founding fathers of this country believed that equality is the ideal that is at the core and fiber of every human being. Fredman (2011) in the meantime, asked us to contemplate the following concept: “When one person is like another, does that entitle them to be treated alike?” For example, for centuries it was commonly accepted that women were not like men and therefore deserved fewer rights. This concept still exists today in many countries. The same premise is used to deny rights to people of color, ethnic groups, sexual orientation, disability or age. Although one can agree or argue whether individuals are different or alike, many still contemplate as to whether they should or are entitled to be treated equally. This would suggest that the treatment of equality is predicated on the principle that justice is inconsistent. This paradox is evident when we accept that equality is formulated in different ways contingent upon the specific concept that is applied. This explains how the consistencies or inconsistencies of two individuals that appear to be alike, are in fact different in terms of things like: (a) access to power, (b) opportunities, and (c) material benefits that manifest in unequal outcomes. Therefore, an alternative view of inequality emerges that is based on perception of justice that is concentrated on balancing maldistribution (Fredman, 2011). This is one way to explain how discrimination continues to thrive and exist.

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Some employers, however, engage in certain kinds of discrimination to justify their business practices. For example, many of the employees hired as cocktail waitresses in certain environments are employed based on a certain attractive look, age, gender and physical features. The reasoning behind this is that it is part of their marketing strategy which is aimed at a dominant male clientele. Although this can be construed as discrimination, EEOC mandates also protect an employer’s right to choose how to run their business and the marketing strategies they deem effective for their industry. As long as a company can produce evidence to support their business is based on profiting by hiring a certain group, whether based on attractive looks, religion, age, gender, or other criteria, the business can engage in this practice legally and within the framework of employment laws. In other words, a business owner can operate an establishment, hire a specific type of employee for specific duties, and the EEOC will not consider it discrimination as long as the employer can provide substantial reason and evidence to support their justification in doing so, that is consistent in their industry. Ultimately, it is the job of each and every business leader to make sure they are familiar with the business laws that govern their industry to ensure that they are not violating any statutes with respect to employment and discrimination laws.

References:

Fredman, S. (2011). Discrimination law. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Palumbo, C., & Wolfson, B. (2011). The law of sex discrimination (Fourth ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Seaquist, G. (2012). Business law for managers. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Testing Employees

Published May 31, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Managers that seek to fill staff positions use a variety of employee testing techniques. It is one of the most effective ways a leader can ascertain whether an individual is qualified and skilled for a position at their organization. Hoffman (2001) predicates that organizational testing is on the rise. This is primarily due to the significant improvements of the tests themselves as a result of mathematical breakthroughs and advances in computer technology. Consequently, leaders now have the ability to review results more quickly and far more accurately. In addition, tests help managers filter out unappealing candidates and can differentiate those who are highly competent potentials (Hoffman, 2001). This research examines the role of employee testing in relation to the hiring process. We will also take a look at the components that go into designing the most effective screening methods to yield the highest results. Our research will illustrate that even though assessments can intimidate and scare off prospective applicants, testing employees is an important part of the staff selection process because it helps identify a candidate’s abilities, it presents a way to collect genuine and direct information, and can help distinguish high performance job candidates.

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The Role of Testing

Leaders and Human Resource (HR) managers’ primary focus is to extract accurate information and responses in interviewees during the hiring process. Like thorough detectives, they gather data and initiate interviews to ascertain whether to offer the potential applicant the position they seek to fill. Falcone (2008) postulates that employers who yield the best results put a plan together that helps ascertain the following information: (a) what is the reason and motivation behind the applicant seeking the position, (b) does the person fill a need for the organization, (c) is the individual willing to commit to progressive career management with the firm or filling a temporary need waiting for the next occupational opportunity, (d) is the individual merely looking for a salary increase in their current position and using this as an opportunity for leverage, (e) will the individual adhere to specific job duties laid out in the job description or are they willing and able to assume additional responsibilities, (f) how well does the individual handle emotions like stress and constructive criticism, and (g) what kind of work ethic does the individual have (Falcone, 2008). In addition, leaders should strive to develop a strategic plan that garners the best responses and meet employers’ expectations.

One method organizations devise as a means to validate a candidate’s responses is by way of reference checks. Falcone (2008) points out that equally significant, HR Managers must be careful to avoid creating tests that will yield responses which encourage applicants to retort with long inventories or flowery adjectives regarding traits such as their nobility, intelligence, commitments, work ethics, and integrity. Adjectives are not proven claims, can waste time, and act as a side-track tactic for obtaining relevant information (Falcone, 2008). The tester’s main concern is acquiring concrete evidence of how a candidate will perform, contribute to the organizational goals, and fit on the company team.

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Designing Effective Tests

Testing employees is an effective method to deduce employee competencies. This includes gathering information from a candidate with components like screening tools, exams, background checks, and interviews. No matter how one slices it, employers are looking to select the strongest candidates and the best people to fill open positions. Simultaneously, they are required to satisfy EEO, ADA, and civil rights laws to avoid costly and timely litigation. Designing and implementing effective employment tests helps managers find the best candidates that are highly motivated and driven to help them pursue organizational goals with efficiency and fairness. Therefore, employment testing is an efficient tool and an imperative component toward a manager’s finding high performance workers successfully. Wigdor’s (1989) research asserts that methods of testing should include the examination of skill levels, knowledge, and capabilities designed according to a set of predetermined conditions and guidelines specific to their organization. In addition, employers use testing to evaluate a candidate’s achievements, aptitude, abilities, and personality traits (Wigdor, 1989).

Employers have also changed the climate of the testing process at the workplace because of the efforts of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For example, Meyers (2008) reveals that a recent study conducted from the National Research Council suggests that the widely used employment tests provided by the Department of Labor’s General Aptitude Test Battery allow employers to hire a wider demographic range. These tests are designed to preserve the benefits of the testing in a manner that breaks through the discrimination barriers of the past. As a result, there have been an increasing number of minorities in the workplace. In short, employers are now able to seek qualified candidates who are highly intelligent in a safe, supportive arena in a way that is fair to any potential candidate. In addition, Meyers (2008) discloses that the EEOC recently issued a document stating that anti-discrimination laws must be included in the design of employer tests, personality tests, medical examinations, criminal background checks, and credit checks. The EEOC contends that testing and other methods of screening are efficient methods to screen vast numbers of applicants and helps in the decision making process (Meyers, 2008). Employers are urged to educate themselves on these regulations to avoid violation of anti-discrimination laws and recommend employers implement “best practices” conduct when employing tests and screening tools.

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Testing employees is very effective for collecting valuable data. To achieve the best results, Arthur (1991) contends the environment should be consistent each time the test is conducted. This includes elements such as seating, space, ambiance, ventilation, and lighting. In addition, the same tools or screening devices should be distributed in the same fashion each time the test is given with the purpose of the test clearly explained to the candidate from the onset (Arthur, 1991). For instance, when an applicant submits information with adjectives purporting they are not afraid to work hard, the interviewer must find a way for the candidate to elaborate. For example, the interviewer may communicate to the applicant with a response that gives praise to hard workers and follow that by asking the applicant to share an experience of how hard they work in relation to their colleagues. Leaders do not want to intimidate and scare off potential hires, so they look for ways to ascertain the best information to help them in the decision making process. To find the best possible candidates, effective leaders and HR managers design and create tests that will help them attract, recruit, and maintain the highest level performers.

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Conclusion

Employee testing presents an effective way to collect genuine and direct information. They are procedures that help determine whether an employee is an organizational fit. Proper administration should fall within the guidelines and regulations of the EEO, ADA, and civil laws to avoid any violation with privacy or discrimination issues. The EEOC offers employers fact sheets with information and guidelines that clearly lay out the parameters to help managers veer away from any potential pitfalls. Arthur’s (1991) research suggests that tests should be designed to measure skill levels and also help determine how driven an individual is as well as identify a potential hire’s undesirable traits and shortcomings. In addition, the EEOC requires that testing include a written policy that clearly identifies the main objectives of the position, regardless of religion, creed, race, gender, age, disability, or ethnicity (Arthur, 1991). In conclusion, while it can intimidate and scare off potential applicants, testing employees is a significant part of the hiring process because it identifies a candidate’s abilities and helps differentiate unappealing applicants from those who are high level performers.

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References

Arthur, D. (1991, August). Conducting pre-employment and employment tests. supervisory management. Saranac Lake, NY, USA. Retrieved May 15, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/214226575?accountid=32521

Falcone, P. (2008). 96 great interview questions to ask before you hire. New York, NY: AMACOM.

Hoffman, E. (2001). Ace the corporate personality test. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Meyers, J. L. (2008, March 12). Employment tests. Pittsburgh Post – Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Retrieved May 15, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/docview/390705134?accountid=32521

Wigdor, A. (1989, August 21). Employment tests can be useful. Chicago Tribune. Chicago, IL, USA. Retrieved 15 2013, May , from http://search.proquest.com/docview/282608644?accountid=32521