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25 Jun 2011

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Chapter 3 Equity and Diversity in Human Resources Management
Employment Equity – The employment of individuals in a fair and nonbiased manner
By 2016, about 1 in 5 citizens will be a visible minority
oWorkplaces must reflect this reality and accommodate this diversity
When managers ignore the legal aspects of HRM, they risk incurring costly and time consuming litigation,
negative public attitudes, and damage to organizational morale
Employment equity is not only a legal topic, but also an emotional issue
oConcerns all individuals regardless of their sex, religion, age, national origin, colour, or position in
an organization
Supervisors should be aware of their personal biases and how these attitudes can influence their dealings
with subordinates
Women, visible minorities, and people with disabilities make up over 60 percent of Canadas labour force
Members of designated groups entering Canadas labour pool constitute a vital resource, and their full
participation in the workplace will be fundamental to an organization’s ability to understand and respond to
the needs of a rapidly changing marketplace
Ensuring equal access to employment
Designated Groups – Women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, and persons with disabilities who have been
disadvantaged in employment
Status of Designated Groups
Some disadvantages include: high unemployment, occupational segregation, pay inequities, and limited
opportunities for career progress
Women tend to be concentrated in occupations that are accorded lower status and pay
oWere not equally represented in all occupations
Women are underrepresented as semi-professionals and technicians; as supervisors in crafts and trades; in
skilled crafts and trades; and as other sales and service personnel
Also underrepresented in management positions and as members of boards
First Nations people constitute roughly 4.4% of the population, but constitute only 1.6% of the workforce
oTheir unemployment rate is more than twice the national average
oMedian Income for the Canadian population is $25,000 while the median for Aboriginals is $16,000
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Chapter 3 Equity and Diversity in Human Resources Management
oFace major barriers to employment, which are often compounded by low educational achievement
and lack of job experience, as well as by language and cultural barriers
People with disabilities represent 12.4% of the population, but their workforce representation is low at 1.6%
oMuch higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 7.5% in 2003
oAbout 1/3 of those with disabilities became disabled as adults, resulting in 70% of them forced to
make career changes
oFace attitudinal barriers, physical demands that are unrelated to actual job requirements, and
inadequate access to the technical and human support systems that would make productive
employment possible
o70% of those with disabilities need some kind of workplace accommodation, and in 80% of the
cases the cost is less than $500
oEmployers seek to redress attitudinal barriers by focusing on abilities, not disabilities
Visible minority population in Canada experienced a growth rate of 25% since 1996 Census, compared to an
overall population growth of 4%
oVisible minority groups vary in their labour force profiles and in their regional distributions
oSystemic barriers that negatively affect employment for visible minorities include culturally biased
aptitude tests, lack of recognition of foreign credentials, and excessively high language
oAlthough visible minorities tend to be better educated, they also have the highest unemployment
Benefits of Employment Equity
Contributes to the bottom line by broadening the base of qualified individuals for employment, training, and
promotions, and by helping employers avoid costly human rights complaints
Enhances an organizations ability to attract and keep the best qualified employees, which results in greater
access to a broader base of skills
Enhances employee morale by offering special measure such as flexible work schedules and work sharing
Improves the organizations image in the community
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the federal Canadian Human Rights Act, and pay equity and
employment equity acts are the governing pieces of legislation dealing with employment equity
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Constitution Act of 1982, which contains the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is the
cornerstone of equity legislation
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Chapter 3 Equity and Diversity in Human Resources Management
The Charter guarantees some fundamental rights to every Canadian, including:
oFundamental freedoms that comprise the standard rights of freedom of speed, press, assembly,
association, and religion
oDemocratic rights, covering franchise rights
oMobility rights, concerning the right to move freely from province to province for the purposes of
residence and/or employment
oLegal rights, conferring standard procedural rights in criminal proceedings
oEquality rights, guaranteeing no discrimination by law on grounds of race, ethnic origin, colour,
religion, sex, age, or mental and physical ability
oLanguage rights
Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA)
This act proclaims that
every individual should have an equal opportunity with other individuals to make for himself or herself the life that he or she is
able and wishes to have, consistent with his or her duties and obligations as a member of society, without being hindered in or
prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex or marital
status, or convictions for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or by discriminatory employment practices based on
physical handicap
The act applies to all federal government departments and agencies, to Crown corporations, and to other
businesses and industries under federal jurisdiction, such as banks, airlines, railway companies, and
insurance and communications companies
For those areas not under federal jurisdiction, protection is available under provincial human rights laws
The prohibited grounds for discrimination in employment include race, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic
origin, physical handicap, and marital status
Employers are permitted to discriminate if employment preferences are based on a bona fide occupational
Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) – A justifiable reason for discrimination based on business reasons
of safety or effectiveness
Differential treatment is not discrimination if there is a justifiable reason
Enforcement of the Canadian Human Rights Act
Refer to Figure 3.2, Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination in Canada on p.107 to 111
Individuals have a right to file a complaint if they feel they have been discriminated against
The CHRC may refuse to accept a complaint if it has not been filed within a prescribed period of time, if it is
deemed trivial, or if it was filed in bad faith
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