1 Diversity and Discrimination for Supervisors J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® Copyright © 2012 Introduction
Pg 2 Welcome to Diversity and Discrimination for Supervisors.
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2 Diversity and Discrimination for Supervisors J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® Copyright © 2012
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3 Diversity and Discrimination for Supervisors J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® Copyright © 2012
Pg 9 When you select Next, you will begin the pretest for this course. Your score will be reported to you, but will not be recorded. There are 10 questions in this pretest.
Pg 11 This course will help you navigate the complexities of managing an
increasingly diverse workforce. You’ll learn what diversity in the workplace means, and the benefits and challenges it can bring. You’ll also learn how discrimination happens in the workplace, what circumstances can lead to a charge of discrimination, and which classes of employees find protection under the law.
Pg 12 When you hear the word “diversity,” you probably think about affirmative action policies and laws like the Civil Rights Act. You may recall high-profile news stories about lawsuits involving race or sex discrimination.
You may also think that workplace diversity doesn’t apply to you. Only lawyers and human resource professionals need to deal with diversity issues, right?
The truth is that diversity affects everyone in the workplace.
Pg 13 Most people think of race and gender when they consider diversity issues, but the word “diversity” applies to much more than a person’s skin color or gender.
Workplace diversity refers to all the characteristics, perspectives, abilities, and experiences—both similarities and differences—that people bring to an organization.
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Pg 14 Unfortunately, diversity in the workplace may come with intolerant attitudes, harassment, and employment discrimination. Treating people unfairly based on certain attributes is discrimination. Certain types of discrimination are prohibited by federal and state laws. These laws are intended to address workplace conflicts and ensure fair treatment and equality in employment practices.
As a supervisor in a diverse workplace, you have both rights and
responsibilities for addressing conflicts and encouraging a workplace culture that embraces diverse experiences and perspectives. Aside from the
potential liability, you have a duty to provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. Your employees deserve a work
environment of tolerance and respect — a place where they all can be productive.
Diversity in the Workplace
Pg 2 Think about all the ways that your employees are both similar to and different from each other. Some similarities and differences might be obvious, but many others may not be so visible.
These similarities and differences may include race and ethnic heritage, age, and gender, but they may also include less overt things like social or
economic class, cultural heritage, language, religious or spiritual beliefs, education, sexual orientation, skills, physical and mental abilities, public assistance status, age, and even work styles.
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Pg 4 Diversity, however, is not about categorizing all the people in an
organization by a particular trait, such as skin color or gender; nor is it about singling out a particular characteristic to define each person in a workplace.
Each person in your company has many characteristics that define who he or she is. But it is this complex combination of different characteristics – and not necessarily the ones that you would think of or that are readily visible – that determines how each worker performs tasks, approaches problems, and interacts with others.
Diversity builds the best, most talented workforce possible—one that is likely to mirror the people you serve. That—along with preventing discrimination—is what accepting and valuing diversity is all about.
Pg 6 The great diversity that exists in today’s workforce presents advantages and opportunities for both employers and employees. Benefitting the workplace itself, a diverse workforce offers a variety of skills and perspectives for problem-solving and can open minds to new possibilities and experiences. Accepting contributions from each individual improves worker morale and motivation, which increases productivity. Supporting a diverse workplace when recruiting talent also means taking advantage of a larger, more robust pool of applicants.
Pg 7 A diverse workforce mirrors the growing population diversity in this country (including customers and clients), and thus will be better equipped to respond to a very dynamic and expanding market. An employee who is able to speak a language other than English might be able to help the company to market to a larger group, overcoming communication issues or cultural barriers. For this reason, diverse organizations may be better able to serve and keep international customers when their own workforce is intimately familiar with the needs of other cultural and ethnic groups.
So again, embracing diversity increases the company’s morale and productivity, as well as the ability to attract and retain the most capable and talented employees and with them, a larger market.
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Pg 8 Success in today’s world requires everyone to think in different ways, and to adapt to new and changing conditions. Accordingly, workplaces that are becoming more diverse are the ones that will continue to thrive.
Studies have shown that a diverse workplace: • Is more profitable,
• Is more productive,
• Has lower absenteeism and turnover,
• Sees a decrease in complaints and litigation, and • Enjoys an improved public image.
Pg 10 A workplace that accepts diversity has a culture of inclusion. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines inclusion as "the extent to which each person in an organization feels welcomed, respected, supported and valued as a team member."
Inclusion differs from acceptance because it is an active approach in which individuals welcome and interact with one another. Acceptance, on the other hand, is passive acknowledgement and categorization of differences. By becoming more aware of diversity issues in your workplace, you can help to create a culture of inclusion that values every employee.
Pg 12 Just as a diverse workplace can improve morale and create a business advantage, it can also present challenges and the potential for conflict. An increase in diversity may cause growing pains in the form of discrimination or harassment.
Anti-discrimination laws address some of the conflicts that develop due to diversity issues. But the laws cannot address all the diversity conflicts that might occur in a workplace. Becoming aware of real and potential diversity issues in your workplace may help to prevent discrimination conflicts and complaints.
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Pg 13 Even if your company is not poised to embark on a formal diversity initiative, as a supervisor, you can exhibit behaviors that show you value the diversity in your workplace, and refrain from behavior that demeans others.
Educate your employees about discrimination laws, what type of conduct is prohibited, company policies on offensive conduct, and how and to whom to report offensive conduct. Employees should know that offensive comments or jokes can be the basis of a discrimination claim, and that the company intends to comply with anti-discrimination standards and maintain a productive work environment by prohibiting all offensive conduct.
Pg 14 It's important to stop inappropriate behavior before it affects anyone’s work, and to maintain a workplace free from discrimination. Point out that offensive behavior won’t be tolerated, and that any unwanted conduct may result in disciplinary action.
Inappropriate behavior can include:
• Offensive jokes, slurs, epithets, or name calling; • Unwanted physical contact or touching;
• Physical assaults, threats, or intimidation;
• Ridicule or mockery, as well as insults or put-downs; • Offensive objects or pictures; and
Interference with work performance.
Pg 15 Avoid making comments about employees based on their appearance or the way they speak. Make a conscious effort to use gender-neutral language, such as “postal worker” instead of “mailman,” “firefighter” instead of “fireman,” and “flight attendant” instead of “stewardess.”
Be sure to keep an open mind about the different talents, abilities and perspectives offered by ALL of your employees. You may find that an employee has a great solution you hadn’t thought of to a problem that’s been dogging your department, all because he or she brings a different perspective to the workforce.
Finally, be on the alert for harassing behavior from employees, and don’t tolerate it.
8 Diversity and Discrimination for Supervisors J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® Copyright © 2012 Discrimination
Pg 2 Each year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recovers millions of dollars for employees who were subjected to workplace discrimination. Of the companies that paid out those millions of dollars, how many thought they didn’t have anything to worry about? How much more did they pay in legal fees, lost productivity, and other costs?
Your company can even be held liable for discrimination it doesn’t know about. The law says your company can be liable if it should have known about discrimination. The law also says that if a supervisor knows of discrimination, the company is assumed to have knowledge of it. That means if you don’t know how to handle complaints of discrimination, your company could be held liable.
Pg 3 In a legal sense, discrimination is any “adverse action” taken against an employee or applicant on the basis of belonging to a “protected class.”
• An “adverse action” includes things like a refusal to hire or promote someone. It can also include offensive comments or jokes made by co-workers.
• “Protected classes” include characteristics such as age, gender, religion, national origin, race, disability, and even pregnancy. For example, if you refuse to promote someone because “he looks Middle Eastern,” or one of your employees makes sexually suggestive comments to another employee, these actions are based on a protected class and are discriminatory.
Pg 5 Workplace discrimination is largely addressed by Equal Employment Opportunity laws. The laws are intended to ensure fair treatment and equality in employment practices. They provide legal remedies for people in protected classes who have experienced employment discrimination. The laws are enforced primarily, but not exclusively, by the EEOC. You can learn more about the EEOC by visiting their Website
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Pg 6 Anti-discrimination laws apply in cases of discrimination toward peers as well as subordinates and superiors. They apply to pre-employment hiring practices as well as policies and practices for existing employees in most workplaces with at least 15 employees (20 employees in the case of age discrimination).
The EEOC has established a list of prohibited practices to help workplaces avoid discrimination issues. These prohibited practices provide guidelines for workplace behavior. Behavior that you might consider discrimination may or may not be illegal, depending on the circumstances. For instance, a single offensive joke doesn’t usually break the law, but a pattern of offensive behavior can be unlawful.
Some behaviors, like swearing, may be offensive—but they aren’t always discriminatory.
Pg 8 Harassment is the most common form of discrimination between co-workers. Harassment can include any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct. It can range from mildly annoying comments to threats of violence or assault. A single verbal statement can be harassment if it’s a threat, but most minor, offhand comments are not unlawful harassment unless they’re part of a pattern of behavior.
Conduct that doesn’t alter the conditions of the victim’s employment is generally not considered unlawful. However, a person’s reaction can affect whether offensive behavior is unlawful. The same comment may have different effects on different people.
For example, some people may laugh at a tasteless joke about a handicapped person, but the same joke may be offensive to a mother with a disabled child.
Pg 10 Generally, discrimination takes one of two forms:
• A hostile work environment, which usually involves offensive or unwanted behavior by co-workers; or
• Employment actions, like a refusal to hire or promote on the basis of a protected class, or “quid pro quo” harassment.
Select Next to learn more about hostile work environment and "quid pro quo" harassment.
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Pg 11 A hostile work environment is typically created by co-workers, while employment actions are generally taken by someone in a position of authority. The term “quid pro quo” means “this for that.” A typical example would be a supervisor offering a promotion in exchange for sexual favors. A hostile work environment typically involves a pattern of behavior. A single incident usually isn’t unlawful unless the conduct is severe enough to interfere with the affected person’s employment. However, an employment action (like a refusal to hire) has an immediate effect on employment. Even a single decision by a supervisor can break the law.
Pg 14 To determine whether a hostile work environment exists, questions revolve around the nature and extent of the offensive behavior.
The nature of the behavior considers the target of the behavior. The offensive conduct must be regarding a protected class. Otherwise, it may be rude or uncouth, but it’s not unlawful discrimination. For example, the law doesn’t prohibit employees from making fun of a co-worker for being left-handed, or for owning a cat, because these aren’t protected characteristics. The extent of the behavior considers the level of disruption.
To be unlawful, the conduct must be severe enough and frequent enough to disrupt a reasonable person’s work. This often raises the question of “how much is too much.”
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Pg 15 There’s a difference between offensive behavior and workplace banter. Many employees exchange friendly jokes and jibes, and this usually isn’t a problem if no one gets offended.
However, workplace banter can be a problem if it’s directed at someone in a protected class. Have you ever heard jokes in your workplace about older workers “slowing down” or “needing an afternoon nap”? These comments may seem harmless, but they could lead to a charge of age discrimination. If an employee files an age discrimination complaint, the fact that such jokes were allowed could be the beginning of a hostile work environment claim—even if the worker who filed the complaint laughed at the jokes, too. If this doesn’t seem to make much sense, step in your employee’s shoes for a moment. You might laugh along at the jokes to hide your discomfort. You might be reluctant to complain about a few jokes because you worry about how your supervisor will react, whether other workers will find out who “squealed,” and whether the complaint will “get someone in trouble.”
All of this over small-minded jokes: wasted time, lost productivity, hurt feelings, uncomfortable discussions with management, and last but not least, a possible lawsuit...
Pg 16 This doesn’t mean that you have to discipline everyone who tells a joke, or that you must monitor the workplace and censor every comment that isn’t business-related. But the person who complains may not be the only one affected; he or she could simply be the first person to come forward. And derogatory comments of any nature (even those not based on a protected class) can have a negative effect on morale and productivity. That’s why it is best to immediately respond to any complaints about offensive comments.
Pg 17 When employees complain of harassment, they rarely use direct language. You’re unlikely to hear that another employee “is discriminating against me.” More likely, the complaint will be generic, like “he’s bothering me,” or “I don’t think his jokes are funny, but I don’t want to cause trouble.” supervisors need to understand this tendency to downplay the situation, and recognize that these types of comments must be taken seriously.
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Pg 18 Employment actions are often, but not always, more clear-cut. In some cases, the discrimination is not intentional. But the fact that a policy or behavior was not meant to discriminate is not a defense against a charge. Unlike situations involving a hostile work environment, claims about employment actions don’t need to show a pattern of behavior because there’s an immediate effect on employment. Unlawful employment actions can be directed at a particular person or class, or they can indirectly affect people in a protected group. Either way, the discrimination can violate the law.
Unlawful employment actions can also include discrimination based on association with someone in a protected class. An example might be a refusal to hire someone who has a disabled child on the assumption that the employee would require additional leave to care for the child.
Pg 19 Assumptions and stereotypes pertaining to people in a protected class cannot be a factor in an employment action. For example, you cannot refuse to hire a minority based on the assumption that the turnover rate is higher among minorities, or refuse to hire a female based on the assumption that women may require pregnancy leave. Employees and applicants must be considered based on individual capacities, not on characteristics casually attributed to a protected class.
Cases where a protected class was considered along with legitimate factors are known as “mixed motive” cases. If you promoted a male employee instead of a female employee, even though both had the same qualifications and seniority, it wouldn’t automatically be discriminatory. But if you promoted the man because you believed that a woman “wouldn’t be aggressive enough” for the position, then gender was a factor in the decision. The fact that the male was also qualified is not a defense.
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Pg 20 Retaliation is common after a discrimination complaint has been made and it’s also illegal. Retaliation is an action against an individual for complaining of discrimination, helping with an investigation (like giving a witness statement), or opposing discriminatory practices. Any action that might deter a “reasonable” person from opposing discrimination could be considered retaliation.
Retaliation can include harassment, practical jokes, or any other offensive conduct taken to “get back” at the person who complained. Fear of retaliation is the most common reason that employees fail to report harassment.
If a company follows a policy that has not been uniformly applied in the past, it could be considered retaliation. For example, if one employee is fired for misconduct but other employees who engaged in the misconduct were only given a written warning, the unequal application of the policy may appear to be retaliation.
Pg 21 Refusing to hire someone based on race, gender, or other protected characteristics is against the law. Yet, during 2010, the EEOC received nearly 100,000 complaints of discrimination against private employers. Most complaints filed with the EEOC involve direct discrimination, such as "I was fired because I’m Hispanic," or "I wasn’t hired because I’m female." Generally, a workplace policy or hiring practice must be based on business necessity, which means that it is necessary for an organization to achieve its objectives and to operate safely and effectively. For example, a modeling agency will likely have a legitimate business purpose to hire only men for a job that requires them to model men’s clothing.
Many other organizations would have a difficult time proving a business necessity to always hire men over women.
A policy that unintentionally discriminates can also result in charges and liability. Unintentional discrimination is something that appears neutral, but is still damaging to employees in a protected class. For example, physical requirements that might screen out females would be discriminatory unless the workplace could show a business necessity for the requirements.
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Pg 23 The EEOC requires that a complaint of discrimination be filed within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. When a complaint is filed, the EEOC tries to resolve the dispute through mediation. If mediation doesn’t work, the EEOC may decide to litigate, or the affected person may file a private lawsuit.
Pg 24 An investigation of a complaint considers why the company took the action. Employees and applicants must be considered based on individual capacities, not on general characteristics or assumptions. If the action was taken because the person belonged to a protected class, it probably broke the law. However, if there was a legitimate reason, it might not break the law.
A discriminatory motive doesn’t need to be the sole reason—it only needs to be a motivating factor. The law provides exemptions for bona fide occupational qualifications, and for seniority or merit systems. There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to investigating a discrimination complaint. The facts of each case must be considered based on the context of the specific situation.
Pg 25 Most discrimination complaints are found to be unsupported by facts or evidence, which actually tends to be the result of a general lack of knowledge in the workforce on the proper reporting procedures—like keeping accurate records of the discrimination or filing in a timely manner. Indeed, the EEOC only finds merit in about 20% of complaints. Most of those are settled out of court. However, many claims are never filed with the EEOC or are handled internally by the company.
If the EEOC finds merit for the complaint, a company may be liable for punitive damages, back pay, front pay, restored benefits, attorneys’ fees, reasonable accommodation, reinstatement, and job offers. The average time to process and settle a complaint is about six months.
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Pg 2 Federal and state laws don’t generally require preferential treatment for those in protected classes. They are anti-discrimination laws, not affirmative action requirements. These laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of a protected characteristic in any aspect of employment, including:
• Hiring, firing, and recruiting;
• Transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall;
• Compensation, benefits, and use of company facilities; • Training and apprenticeship programs;
• Or retirement plans and disability leave
Pg 3 Most of the laws apply to all private employers, state and local governments, educational institutions, private and public employment agencies, and labor organizations that employ 15 or more individuals. Some exceptions apply for particular laws and employers.
Most states have adopted some version of the federal antidiscrimination laws with similar employment protections. Many states also protect classes or characteristics not covered by federal law. While federal laws generally cover employers with 15 or more employees, state laws may cover companies with only one employee.
Pg 4 The EEOC makes agreements with state agencies to handle discrimination complaints. Any complaint made to the EEOC is also filed with the state agency, and vice versa. If the EEOC doesn’t protect against the type of discrimination alleged, the EEOC will refer the employee to the state agency. If a situation is covered by a state law, the employee has 300 days to file a complaint.
Under the EEOC laws, your company must post a notice of employee rights. The notice must be accessible to persons with disabilities that affect their ability to read the posting. Many states also require a poster listing the additional state protections and contact information for the state agency.
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Pg 5 With some federal and state laws, an employer may need to make a “reasonable” accommodation for someone in a protected class—that is, unless the employer can prove that the accommodation is an undue hardship.
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to the job or work environment that would enable an applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process, perform essential job functions, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment.
Pg 6 An undue hardship is an action that’s excessively costly, substantial, disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. An assumption that more people may need the same accommodation is not evidence of undue hardship. While they all have similar prohibitions on harassment and employment actions, each protected class has unique qualifications and circumstances.
Pg 7 The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees and applicants who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination based on age. This includes any condition of employment, like hiring, promotion, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training. For example, job notices or advertisements can’t include age preferences or limitations.
The law does recognize differences based on reasonable factors other than age, such as experience, performance, and demonstrated ability, and bona fide seniority systems. In many age discrimination claims, the issue is why an employment action was taken.
If an employee over 40 is terminated without warning after many years of service, juries are inclined to believe the reason was age.
Pg 10 Employers are not prohibited from considering the experience, performance, and demonstrated abilities of employees and applicants. For example, if considering reasonable factors like these reveals that an employee under 40 is more qualified than an employee over 40, no age discrimination would occur if an employer hired or promoted the younger applicant or employee. The law would prohibit the employer from rejecting the older employee solely based on age.
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Pg 11 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protections for employees with disabilities. The ADA is one of the discrimination laws that requires employers to seek reasonable accommodations for qualifying individuals with disabilities. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. An individual is protected under the ADA if he or she has an impairment, has a record of such an impairment (such as a history of cancer), or is regarded as having an impairment.
Employers may need to make reasonable accommodations for the known limitations of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability. Supervisors need to know that refusing to hire an individual under the assumption that the person can’t perform the job because of being disabled could be a violation of the ADA, even if the person does not have a “disability” as defined above.
Pg 12 An employer cannot discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Pregnant women must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. A pregnant woman can’t be turned down for employment because of her pregnancy.
In addition, pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they’re able to perform their jobs. Their jobs must be held open for the same length of time jobs are held for employees on sick or disability leave. Pg 13 Gender (sex) discrimination means treating an employee or applicant less
favorably because of his or her gender. The law prohibits both intentional discrimination and job policies that tend to exclude individuals on the basis of gender. For example, reducing benefits to female employees because they might require more leave due to pregnancy would be sex-based discrimination.
Sex-based discrimination is the second most-frequently made claim to the EEOC. Race-based discrimination is the most-frequently made claim to the EEOC. (Select Next to explore Race-based discrimination in greater detail.)
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Pg 14 An employer cannot discriminate against an employee or applicant, regardless of citizenship status, because of his or her racial group or perceived racial group, race-linked characteristics (like hair texture, color, or facial features), national origin, accent, or because of marriage to or association with someone of a particular race, color, or national origin.
Employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals based on race are prohibited. The law protects all employees and applicants in the United States, regardless of citizenship.
The law also applies to job policies that tend to exclude persons of a certain race or color. One of the most common issues is language. An English fluency requirement is only permissible if required for the effective performance of a position.
Pg 15 The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against employees or applicants based on their genetic information or personalized medical treatment. Also, employers cannot require employees to provide genetic information, especially in regards to company health insurance. It is also illegal to harass a person because of the person’s genetic information or family medical history.
An example of a violation of this act could be a supervisor who requires applicants to indicate whether or not they have a history of diabetes in their family.
Pg 16 An employer cannot discriminate against individuals because of their religion. This includes any moral or ethical beliefs that the employee sincerely holds with the same strength of traditional religious views. Whether or not the beliefs are officially affiliated with a religious group will not determine if the beliefs are religious.
An employer must accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs or practices unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. Employees can’t be forced to participate, or be kept from participating, in a religious activity as a condition of employment.
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Pg 18 The Equal Pay Act states that men and women must receive equal pay and benefits when they:
• Are employed in the same establishment;
• Perform jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility; and • Perform under similar working conditions.
Any wage difference between men and women must be justified. Possession of a skill that isn’t needed or used for the job doesn’t qualify.
Pg 19 Employees doing the same work can be paid at different rates if the difference is based on length of service, performance, experience, or similar factors. But the law doesn’t specify what constitutes equal skill, effort, or responsibility. In fact, it says that these conditions can’t be precisely defined. However, “equal” does not mean “identical.” For example, jobs on different machines or equipment can be considered equal if the difference in skill or effort is small.
Pg 21 Workers’ compensation laws differ from state to state, but all have provisions that prohibit retaliation against employees who file workers’ compensation claims. However, the laws generally don’t include job protections. Employees who file workers’ comp claims do not have to be returned to their former jobs. An employee who files an injury claim does not have any greater rights to continued employment than any other worker.
However, if management starts to treat the injured employee differently from other employees after he or she files a claim, this unequal treatment can create the “appearance” of a relationship between filing the injury claim and the disciplinary action–and be characterized as retaliation.
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Pg 22 The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for employees with serious health conditions, including pregnancy. The FMLA is an entitlement, not a voluntary benefit.
A failure to designate leave as “FMLA-qualifying” does not remove the job protections. This means that if an employee’s absences are FMLA-protected, the absences cannot be counted against the employee even if the leave was never formally designated as FMLA leave. This would be an unlawful employment action against a protected employee. Employers are also forbidden from retaliating against individuals for exercising their rights under the FMLA.
However, an employee on FMLA leave can be fired or disciplined for reasons not related to FMLA while on leave as long as the employee is treated like any other employee.
Pg 23 The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) provides reemployment rights for five years for any employee who is absent from work due to military duty.
Your company must re-employ that person at the same seniority, pay, and benefits levels that he or she would have attained if that person had not been absent. Employers also cannot discriminate against employees who intend to join one of the uniformed services.
USERRA also provides enhanced protection for disabled veterans, requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. Some states also have laws that protect military service members.
Pg 24 The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits union and non-union employers from refusing to hire someone suspected of being a union organizer or affiliated with a union. It is also illegal to discriminate against employees for participating in union activities (including organizing efforts), to retaliate against employees for exercising their union rights (such as filing a grievance or a charge of unfair labor practices against you), or to take harsher disciplinary action against an employee because of involvement in unionizing.
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Pg 25 A "whistleblower" is someone who reports actions within the company that he or she believes to be illegal or improper. Whistleblowing activities may include reporting to management, to a board of directors, or to a government agency.
The Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 are several laws that include Whistleblower protections.
Furthermore, an employee who reports an employer for any violation of law is likely protected by some "whistleblower" protection statute or rule of law. Pg 26 The most common protections offered by states that are beyond the scope
of the federal laws include discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, military discharge, and criminal or arrest records.
For example, under some state laws, an employer can’t refuse to hire someone based on sexual orientation or refuse to promote a married employee because it is believed that a single employee is better able to handle the travel demands of a position.
Pg 27 State laws regarding arrest and conviction records also follow the “business necessity” standard. An employer generally can’t use arrest or conviction information in employment decisions unless there’s a direct relationship to the job; for example, employers would not be required to hire someone convicted of embezzlement as an accountant.
22 Diversity and Discrimination for Supervisors J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® Copyright © 2012 Conclusion
Pg 2 Diversity can strengthen and improve an organization by bringing a different viewpoint, a new method, a fresh approach, and a broadened awareness of different cultures. Since customers have become more diverse, employees who can understand them can help make organizations successful. Although federal laws prohibit discrimination, they don’t require diversity. Being diverse can, however, help you show that you don’t discriminate.
Pg 3 Anti-discrimination laws are complex, but many of the same provisions apply to all protected classes. In short, you can’t take employment action against an employee or applicant, or harass an employee or applicant, on the basis of a protected class. This applies to all terms and conditions of employment.
Violations may occur when supervisors and employees either don’t understand why their actions are wrong, or in certain cases of intentional discrimination, simply don’t care. Preventing discrimination may involve training. All employees need to be able to recognize discrimination and all must be willing to report unwelcome conduct.
Illegal discrimination is definitely something that must be prevented and/or addressed in the workplace. However, remember that it’s not just illegal offensive behavior that is detrimental to your workplace. Working to create an environment where offensive behavior of any kind is not tolerated gives you the best chance of fostering or creating a compliant, productive, and positive workplace.
23 Diversity and Discrimination for Supervisors J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® Copyright © 2012 Pg 4 You should now have knowledge of the following:
• What diversity is,
• The benefits and challenges of diversity in the workplace,
• How to recognize harassment, understanding the ways people can and do discriminate/alienate people in protected classes,
• The EEOC and filing complaints,
• Federal and State provisions against discrimination, and
• The many types of protected classes and various forms discrimination can take.
If you need a little more review, select the Resource button for the short compilation, "Diversity and Discrimination."
Pg 5 Now that you've covered everything in the course, it's time to review for the exam. To help you prepare for the exam, you can now move back and forth within the course. Use the drop-down menus at the top of the screen, or the Back and Next buttons at the bottom.
The review questions will also help you review main concepts covered on the exam. Select Next to download the review questions.
Pg 6 The review questions will open in a separate window. Keep this original window open. That way when you don't know an answer, you can go back into the course and find it. Once you've finished the review questions and have finished studying, continue on to take the exam. To begin the review questions, select Resources.
Pg 7 Now it’s time to take the final exam. This exam includes 15 questions. If you close the exam before finishing, your answers will not be saved for later.
You will have three chances to take the final exam. Your highest score will be recorded.
To begin the exam, select Next.