Equal opportunity

Equal Employment Opportunity in the Working Environment
James A. Lee
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Management 317
This paper on equal opportunity employment will show a few different types of discrimination that would impede on a person from getting hired into an organization. It also shows some of the different Acts from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prevent discrimination when hiring workers into an organization.
Equal Employment Opportunity in the Working Environment
Equal employment opportunity involves both workplace nondiscrimination and affirmative action. Equal opportunity has changed the way businesses and organizations recruit, hire, and even act in the working environment. These changes have been put in place due to the increasing numbers of women, people with different racial and ethnic backgrounds, persons of different ages, their able-bodied ness, and religion.

In 1964 a change was brought about by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title seven of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and education, to extend the commission on civil rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). This Act changed they way women and people of different ethnic backgrounds voted for public office, worked in major organizations, and how they proceeded with other major daily activities. This gave the people more rights when it came down to applying for jobs or voting in schools or different organizations. This put everyone at the same level. No race, gender or ethnic power was higher ranking then the other.
Most companies after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 employed the idea of affirmative action. “Affirmative action is legally driven by federal, state and provincial, and local laws, as well as numerous court cases. It requires written reports containing plans and statistical goals for specific groups of people in terms of such employment practices as hiring, promotions, and layoffs” (Hunt, Osborn, Schermerhorn Jr., 2003, pg.62).

Equal Opportunity was mainly brought about due to men being the prime bread winners in the home. Once women started working, they believed they were being treated unfairly in the working environment. Women mainly held low paying jobs and never really worked in a position of authority. “The research on working women in general tells us that there are very few differences between men and women that affect job performance. Thus, men and women show no consistent differences in their problem-solving abilities, analytical skills, competitive drive, motivation, learning ability, or sociability. However, women are reported to be more conforming and to have lower expectations of success than men do. Also, Women’s absenteeism rates tend to be higher than those of men. This latter finding may change, however, as we see men starting to play a more active role in raising children; absenteeism is also likely to be less frequent as telecommuting, flexible working hours, and the like become more prevalent. In respect to pay, women’s earnings have risen slowly from 59 percent of men’s in 1979 to 76 percent most recently”(2003,pg.63).
This research is basically showing that once men and women start acquiring the same roles in the work and home environment, there is nothing excluding a woman from working a mans job.
Companies may soon realize it might be helpful to have a woman in a certain position to acquire a certain goal in mind.

Another aspect of equal opportunity in the working environment is the differences between racial and ethnic groups.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 again protects employees against harassment, segregation and classification of employees, or pre-employment inquiries. The Act states that it is unlawful to discriminate any employee or applicant from employment because of his/her race or color in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Title seven also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups. This title also prohibits both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude minorities and that are not job related (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Just being a minority might not be the reason an organization may not hire you. If you are married to a certain minority the organization may not hire you just because of your acquaintance to that person. The Act also prohibits an organization from doing because it is considered a violation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The term racial and ethnic groups are used to reflect the broad spectrum of employees of differing ethnicities or races who make up and ever-increasing portion of the working environment.
“In the American workplace diversity is reflected in an increasing proportion of African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans” (Hunt, Osborn, Schermerhorn Jr., 2003, pg.64). Due to the major rise in racial and ethnic groups entering the workforce, companies must set plans to enforce rules and laws to limit the stereotypes and discrimination among these groups of people. If these laws are not told to the employees when they are first hired, there could be many problems within the working environment that hinder the final product of the organization.
One of the biggest issues on hiring employees dealing with an equal opportunity standpoint is age. Many elderly or younger persons may apply for jobs in small and major organizations. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are forty years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training. Under this act it is also unlawful to include age preferences, limitations, or specifications in job notices or advertisements. A job notice may only specify an age limit only in the rare circumstance where age is show to be a “bone fide occupational qualification” reasonable necessary to the normal operation of business (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
The older workers benefit protection act of 1990 (OWBPA) amended the ADEA to specifically prohibit employers from denying benefits to older employees. Congress recognized that the cost of providing certain benefits to older workers is greater than the cost of providing those same benefits to younger workers, and that those greater costs would create a disincentive to hire older workers. Therefore, in limited circumstances, an employer may be permitted to reduce benefits based on age, as long as the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing benefits to younger workers (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Due to new technological advances it is much harder for an elderly person to compete with the new generation of employees to get hired for the same type of job. Today, an elderly person must make sure he meets the minimum requirements for a job in which a high school grad has out of high school. Basic computer and math skills are a must. “The research findings concerning age are particularly important given the aging of the workforce. People fifty years old and older account for eighty five percent of the projected labor force growth between 1990 and 2005. Older workers are susceptible to being stereotyped as inflexible and undesirable in other ways. In some cases, workers as young as ages forty are considers to be “old” and complain that their experience and skills are no longer valued. Age-discrimination lawsuits are increasingly common in the United States.
Such discrimination also operates in Britain, where forty four percent of older managers say they have experienced age discrimination. On the other hand, small businesses in particular tend to value older workers for their experience, stability, and low turnover. More experienced workers tend to have a low absence rates and a relatively low turnover” (Hunt, Osborn, Schermerhorn Jr., 2003, pg.63).

A major disability can definitely hinder a person from wanting to work. Nearly three quarters of people having a known disability are unemployed. Most of them if asked say they would rather work. “Once again, the expected shortage of traditional workers is predicted to lead to a reexamination of hiring policies. More firms are expected to give serious consideration to hiring disabled workers, particularly given the cost of accommodating these workers has been shown to be relatively low” (2003, pg.63-64). An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, and is regarded as having such impairment. The Americans disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

Many employees applying for new jobs in organizations practice many different types of religion. Employers must understand that different religious groups take offence to different things. With an equal opportunist environment the organization must make the workplace free of any discriminatory sayings or pictures around the working areas. Employees must understand the different religions also so it makes everyone feel comfortable to work in that environment. When hiring these employees’ managers must keep a non stereotype approach to them and not go by what they hear or read in newspapers, and see on television about that particular religious group. Title seven of the Equal Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. Under this act Employees cannot be forced to participate, or not participate in a religious activity as a condition of employment. Employers may not treat employees or applicants less – or more – favorably because of their religious beliefs or practices. Managers must also reasonably accommodate employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs or practices unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. If other employees’ do not like the person the manager must do everything in his power to prevent religious harassment in the workplace (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

In conclusion, there are many rights to the employees’ when it comes down to equal opportunity employment. In this paper you learned of a few different types of discrimination towards employees’ and how different acts protect them in the workforce. It also has shown what rights a person has as an employee in the working environment.
Schermerhorn, J.R & Hunt, J.G & Osborn, R.N (2003). Organizational Behavior Eight Edition.
US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (2004, September 27). Retrieved September 29, 2004, from http://www.eeoc.gov/
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