ADMS 3450 Chapter Notes - Chapter 33450: Fide, Belp, Smith College

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11 Sep 2014
Chapter 3: Legislation (ADMS 3450)
Historical Background:
The discrimination prevented these people from obtaining or maintaining employment or subjected them to
unfair treatment once employed, and it contributed to large wage, income, and quality-of-life disparities
between people of color and Whites.
Most employers, labor unions, and employment agencies are forbidden to discriminate on the basis of those
factors in hiring and firing; compensation, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion,
layoff, or recall; job advertisements; recruitment; testing; use of company facilities; training and
apprenticeship programs; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or other terms and
conditions of employment.
These broad prohibitions imply that people should be allowed to work without regard to their group
memberships; they are the foundation of diversity-related legislation.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963:
The Equal Pay Act of 1963, an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, was the first
major act relevant to diversity in organizations.
Because the act covers those who are also covered by the FLSA, virtually all employers are subject to the
provisions of the Equal Pay Act, which was an attempt to address pay inequities between men and women.
Jobs are considered to be equivalent, or substantially similar, when they require similar skill, effort, and
responsibility, are in the same organization, and are performed under similar conditions. However,
requirements for "equivalence" severely limit the effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act. Men typically work
with other men, and women typically work with other women. This phenomenon, termed sex segregation,
takes place when at least 70% of incumbents in a particular job are male or female. Employer stereotyping
and steering are contributors to sex- segregated jobs
Gender role socialization is the process by which social entities--families, friends, organizations, the
media--form and shape expectations of acceptable behaviors (and jobs) for men and women. People are
socialized to view certain jobs as appropriate for women and others as appropriate for men. Because
"women's jobs" (such as receptionist and elementary school teacher) typically pay less than "men's jobs"
men's jobs (such as manager and high school principal), this seemingly innocent sorting plays an important
role in gender pay inequity.
For a variety of reasons, however, men on average have more seniority than do women.
This subjectivity, and people's propensity to prefer those who are similar, may disadvantage members of
non-dominant groups, including women.
Effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act:
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Although the effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act has been limited by sex segregation and seemingly
legitimate exceptions, it is still credited with helping to reduce the pay gap between men and women.
Some researchers argue that the wage gap is largely due to women's "choices" of careers, fields of study,
time spent out of the workforce, and fewer hours worked when compared with men.
Litigation under the Equal Pay Act:
Although sex segregation limits the effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act, it does not negate the act's
usefulness. Litigation provides evidence of sex-based pay disparities--as prohibited by the act.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment or
pregnancy discrimination), and national origin in employment-related matters.
Title VII covers the great majority of employers, including:
1. all private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions that employ fifteen or more
individuals for twenty or more weeks per year.
2. private and public employment agencies.
3. labor organizations.
4. joint labor-management committees controlling apprenticeship and training.
5. companies incorporated or based in the United States or that are con- trolled by U.S. companies
employing U.S. citizens outside the United States or its territories.
Certain employers are excluded from coverage under Title VII, including private membership clubs,
religious organizations, schools, associations, or organizations hiring American Indians on or near
Disparate treatment occurs when an applicant or employee is treated differently because of membership
in a protected class. Refusing to hire Blacks as restaurant servers or men as child care workers constitutes
disparate treatment, also referred to as intentional discrimination. (Example: Common stereotypes about
abilities, traits, or performance of people belonging to certain groups may lead to disparate treatment; for
example, the stereotype that women have limited math skills could result in women purposely not being
assigned to jobs requiring math skills.)
Disparate or adverse impact occurs when an apparently neutral, evenly applied job policy or employment
practice has a negative effect on the employment of people belonging to protected classes. It is
demonstrated by statistical evidence showing that people in a protected class were disproportionately
affected by a particular "neutral" practice. (This type of discrimination, also referred to as unintentional
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discrimination, might occur through educational requirements or height and weight restrictions that may
exclude large numbers of certain groups.)
Title VII does not require employers to hire, promote, or retain people who do not meet job
requirements. Instead, Title VII requires employers to pay careful attention to job requirements and
employment decisions to ensure that members of certain groups are not excluded by factors that are
not clearly related to successful performance.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
The EEOC's mission is to "promote equality of opportunity in the workplace and enforce federal
laws prohibiting employment discrimination."
A primary role of the EEOC is investigating complaints of discrimination, conciliating when complaints are
deemed meritorious, and litigating when efforts to resolve complaints through conciliation are
unsuccessful. Instead of litigating, the EEOC may also issue complainants a "Right-to-Sue-Notice,"
allowing them to file individual actions in court (without the EEOC's involvement).
Even so, the EEOC plays a vital role in enforcing various laws, issuing guidelines to assist employers in
interpreting and complying with laws, and providing individuals with a voice in employment-related
The EEOC defines harassment in employment settings as "bothering, tormenting, troubling, ridiculing, or
coercing" a person because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age, all of which forms
of harassment are increasing in frequency.
Race and national origin:
Under Title VII, it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of his or her race, color, birthplace,
ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics common to a particular ethnic group.
Discrimination on the basis of national origin has been on the increase; many complaints involve low-wage
earners and immigrants in the fishing, poultry, and agricultural industries, many of whom have limited
English proficiency and few other employment options.
Illegal to discriminate against someone because of his or her sex or gender in all employment-related
Along with prohibitions against sex discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, and other commonly
recognized aspects of employment, Title VII prohibits sex discrimination in the form of pregnancy
discrimination and sexual harassment
Title VII provides people of different or no religious beliefs with protection against employment-
related discrimination.
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