Law and Ethics Chapter 12 Employment Discrimination

  1. employment discrimination
    • encoupasses workplace discrimination¬†that includes:
    • 1. the hiring process
    • 2. treatment of employees in terms of promotions/demotions, work schedules, working conditions, or assignments
    • 3. disciplinary action such as reprimands, suspension, or termination
  2. EEOC - Equal Employment Opportunity Comission
    5 member commission whose members are appointed by the President with approval of the Senate

    - charged with carrying out Federal workplace antidiscrimination laws
  3. Statutes may be categorized into two categories
    • 1. Laws that require the person in the protected class to receive equal treatment as¬† nonclass members
    • 2. Laws that require the person in the protected class to receive special treatment
  4. Title VII
    prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of an employee's race, color, national origin, gender or religion, these classifications are known as protective classes, pregnancy was added in 1978

    - applies to any private sector employer with 15+ full time employees as well as labor unions, employment agencies, state and local govt, and most federal govt employees
  5. three common theories and attendant tests
    • 1. Disparate treatment (McDonnell Douglas standard)
    • 2. Mixed motives (Hopkins standard)
    • 3. Disparate impact (Griggs standard)
  6. Disparate Treatment
    overt and intentional discrimination
  7. McDonnell Douglas
    • 1. Establish Prima Facie
    • 2. Burden of Proof
    • Pretext- false reason
  8. Mixed Motives
    an employee is protected under Title VII in a case where legitimate motives were mixed with illegitimate  motives if the employee proves the protected class membership was a substantial factor in the decision making process

    once established, the burden shifts to the employer to offer evidence that it would have made the same employment decision regardless of the protective characteristics
  9. preponderance of the evidence
    • more than likely than not
    • a lower standard of proof as compared to clear and convincing evidence
  10. Disparate Impact
    where the employer is not motivated by discriminatory intent, Title VII prohibits an employer from using a facially neutral practice that has an unlawful adverse impact on members of a protected class

    adverse impact- occurring when members of a protected class are selected at a rate less than 80% of that of the highest scoring group

    • must prove prima facie
    • then burden of proof on employer

    challenge practice is job related for the position in question and is a business necessity

    plaintiff may still prevail if the employer refused to adopt an alternative practice that would satisfy the employers interests without having the adverse impact
  11. Sexual Harassment
    unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature are considered violations of Title VII if the conduct is:

    • 1. in the context of explicit or implicit conditions of an individuals employment decisions
    • 2. unreasonably interfering with an individuals work performance or creating an offensive work environment

    most commonly takes the form of a hostile work environment

    if the employee is forced to quit it is so bad the suit can still be filed after they quit

    • examples of behaviors:
    • 1. initiating a discussion of sexual acts, activities, or physical attributes in workplace areas
    • 2. unnecessary or excessive physical contact
    • 3. crude, demeaning, or vulgar language
    • 4. display of pornographic pictures or movies
  12. quid pro quo
    • this for that
    • something for something else
  13. liability of the employer in sexual harassment
    • 1. failed to make employees aware of its sexual harassment policy
    • 2. failed to have any system in place meant to deter harassment
    • 3. failed to enforce an existing policy

    could be liable for sexual harassment even when the employer had NO actual knowledge of the illegal conduct
  14. Remedies
    • - injunction (court order to cease from engaging in a particular unlawful practice or an order compelling a party to act)
    • - reinstatement
    • - compensatory damages in the form of back pay, retroactive promotions
    • - requiring the employer to take certain actions in order to remedy patterns or practices resulting in discrimination

    punative damages are available only when a plaintiff proves that a private employer acted maliciously, in retaliation, or with reckless disregard to the employment discrimination laws
  15. ADEA - Age Discrimination Employment Act
    • 1. 40 or over
    • 2. satisfactory job performance
    • 3. adverse job action such as termination or demotion
    • 4. replacement with someone substantially younger (at least 10 years)
    • 5. other evidence that indicates that it is more likely than not that an employee's age was the reason for the adverse employment action
  16. ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act
    seeks to eliminate discriminatory employment practices against disabled persons that would prevent otherwise qualified employees from obtaining or continuing employment, being promoted, or obtaining benefits available to nondisabled employees

    employers wtih 15 or more employees are required to make reasonable accomodations for a disabled employee in the workplace (so long as the accomodation doesnt cause the employer to suffer an undue hardship)

    • employee must have a documented disability - physical or mental impairment that substantially limit a persons ability to participate in major life activities
    • *(any disability that can be corrected is NOT covered by the act)
  17. regarded as test
    standard applies when an employee was regarded as having impairment by her employer (even if the impairment was ot actually a disability)
  18. Reasonable Accomodations
    • making facilities readily available to individuals with disabilities
    • job restructuring,part time or modified work schedules, reassignment to vacant positions and the provision of readers or interpreters
    • (wheelchair ramps, training manuals or other materials in oral form, modifiying work assignments or a working schedule, and providing sound amplification are all reasonable)
    • DOES NOT require the employer to provide accomodations that consistute an undue hardship on the employer (significant difficulty or expenses)
  19. Equal Pay Act
    • illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substiantially equal work
    • *must file suit within 180 days when the employee becomes aware of his or her plight
  20. Employer Defenses
    • Business Necessity
    • Bona Fide Occupation Qualification
    • Seniority
    • Employee Misconduct
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Law and Ethics Chapter 12 Employment Discrimination
Law and Ethics Chapter 12 Employment Discrimination