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Diversity Legal Basics for Supervisors
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Legal Overview Although there are no laws or regulations mandating workplace diversity programs, there are numerous fair employment laws that prohibit employment discrimination and harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws essentially serve as gatekeepers, the gateway to diversity in the workplace. Specifically, these laws operate to prevent employers from implementing or maintaining hiring and other employment practices that may block diversity from the workplace “door.”
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Relevant federal EEO laws include: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 generally prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from committing discrimination in employment on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, unless it is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), meaning a particular characteristic (religion, sex, or national origin) is absolutely necessary in order to perform the job (e.g., an actor must be male in order to play a male lead character in a movie). Title VII also prohibits using selection practices that have a disproportionate and negative impact on a group of individuals because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Relevant federal EEO laws include: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 generally prohibits employers with 20 or more employees from discrimination in employment based on age, unless age is a BFOQ. Individuals that are aged 40 and over are protected by this law.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Relevant federal EEO laws include: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 generally prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discrimination in employment based on disability. You must reasonably accommodate any otherwise qualified and disabled person, unless an undue hardship can be demonstrated. Undue hardship generally means that a reasonable accommodation would require significant difficulty or expense in light of the employer’s financial resources, size, and/or location of operations, etc.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Relevant federal EEO laws include: The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits the federal government from discriminating against qualified and disabled individuals in employment. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 generally prohibits you from using or implementing discriminatory pay practices on the basis of gender.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Session Objectives Identify how we are diverse Understand the challenges and opportunities of workplace diversity Avoid legal problems
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Session Outline What workplace diversity means How it impacts our organization Discrimination and diversity Myths and realities about diversity Ways to make diversity work
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Facts About Diversity Today’s American workforce The workforce in 2020 The workforce in 2050
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Facts About Diversity We’ll begin by focusing on the American workforce as it is now. Figures from the most recent U.S. census show that almost a third of the workforce is currently made up of minorities, more than 10% is made up of people aged 55 or over, and almost half is made up of women. That’s quite a diversity.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Facts About Diversity By 2050, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that minorities will approach 50% of the American workforce, and the number of workers age 55 and older will jump to almost 20%.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Facts About Diversity As the American workforce reflects an increasingly diverse population, organizations like ours must effectively manage diversity in order to attract and retain high-quality employees and create a more cooperative, creative, productive work environment. To get the most from employees of diverse backgrounds, you must demonstrate and encourage respect for all employees’ abilities and perspectives.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc How Are We Diverse? Race Gender Age Education Cultural background Physical abilities
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc We are diverse in many ways. Race is the common identifier when talking about minorities, but even people of the same race can be very different from one another. Gender is also often referred to with diversity, but again, not all men nor all women are alike. Age is an ever-shifting demographic. As long as employees stay in the workforce, they will eventually hit every age demographic. Education needs to be weighed with experience on the job. Cultural background includes holiday celebrations, languages spoken in the home or by older relatives, and interactions between young people and elders. Physical abilities and disabilities include obvious talents or impairments as well as hidden talents or learning disabilities.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Your Diversity History Parents Teachers Peers Media
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Your Diversity History We all have our own diversity histories based on our past experience and upbringing. Parents are the number one influence on children. What messages did your parents send directly or indirectly about people who are different? Teachers, whether in school, at church, in clubs, in the gym, or on the playing field, also influence the way kids think during their formative years. Peers become more and more of an influence as kids grow into their teen years. What messages did you receive from your “crowd”? Media continue to influence us all our lives, no matter if it’s newspapers and magazines, radio, television, movies, or advertisements.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Challenges Getting used to differences Coordinating work styles Learning to communicate Developing flexibility Adapting to change
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Challenges Diversity in the workforce presents several challenges. Employees need to be able to get used to interacting and working with people who behave or work differently from them or from what they’re used to. The first step is to encourage them to realize that different is a neutral term. It doesn’t mean better or worse—it just means different. Once differences are accepted, it’s a matter of coordinating working styles. This task requires constant and effective communication. Learning to communicate across cultural and language differences is a big challenge for everyone. Teach positive communication skills and encourage employees to be open to new ideas.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Challenges To be productive in a diverse environment, employees need to be flexible and willing to try different, perhaps unfamiliar, approaches. Being able to adapt to change is another challenge that diversity presents. Everyone needs to keep an open mind on the job and look at every change as a chance to do the job better.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Opportunities Attracts and keeps quality employees Increases employee morale Maximizes productivity Reduces costly discrimination suits Improves decision-making Raises company profile
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Opportunities Along with challenges, diversity offers numerous opportunities. Creating a welcoming and diverse workplace where all employees feel empowered and supported in their career goals is the best way to attract quality employees—and the best way to keep them.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Opportunities A diverse workplace also benefits the bottom line by enhancing employee morale. When employees feel and see that diversity is appreciated and promoted in the workplace, they generally feel better about their jobs and their employers, consequently driving productivity and service standards upward.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Opportunities A smoothly functioning diverse workforce maximizes productivity, as everyone contributes to the best of his or her abilities. Accepting and encouraging diversity avoids discrimination and the costly lawsuits that might accompany it. We’ll talk more about that in a few minutes.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Opportunities The saying goes that there is great wisdom in the counsel of many. This is true in the business world as much as anywhere. Having a variety of opinions improves the decision-making process because issues are considered from many different angles. Gaining a reputation as a fair and equitable place to work will raise MVAC’s profile in the business community.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Discrimination and Diversity Unequal opportunity in employment decisions: Recruitment, hiring, and firing Pay and benefits Promotions, transfers, layoffs Training and apprenticeships Retirement plans and disability leave
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Discrimination and Diversity What is discrimination in the context of a diverse workplace? It is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including: Recruitment, hiring, and firing Pay and benefits Promotions, transfers, and layoffs Training and apprenticeships Retirement plans and disability leave
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Harassment and Diversity Slurs or “jokes” Segregation from others Stereotyping Unwelcome sexual advances Derogatory comments regarding a co-worker’s culture or religion
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Harassment and Diversity What is harassment in the context of a diverse workplace? Harassment includes slurs or “jokes, ” offensive comments, or other verbal or physical conduct based on an employee’s race, national origin, religion, sex, or age. Such harassment is illegal if it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, or interferes with a person’s work performance. Segregating employees of a certain race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or age from other employees or from the public is unlawful.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Harassment and Diversity Stereotyping employees’ abilities, traits, and aptitudes on the basis of these characteristics is also prohibited. Doing so may result in excluding minorities from certain types of jobs. Unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances or sexual contact, or requests for sexual favors are all forms of sexual harassment. All aspects of religious or cultural practices and observances are protected. Sincerely held moral and ethical beliefs of a “religious” nature are also covered. The person does not have to be a member of a recognized religion, religious group, or organization.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Who’s Diverse? Tiger Woods Jennifer Lopez Russell Crowe Barbra Streisand Condoleeza Rice Michael J. Fox
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Who’s Diverse? Who’s diverse? We all are, really. Think about these famous people, for instance. Tiger Woods—Asian, black, male, 20-something, golfer Jennifer Lopez—Hispanic, female, 30-something singer/actor Russell Crowe—White, male, Australian, over the age of 40, actor Barbra Streisand—White, female, Jewish, over the age of 40, singer and actor Condoleeza Rice—Black, female, over the age of 40, professor and politician Michael J. Fox—White, male, has Parkinson’s disease, over the age of 40, actor and advocate
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Myth or Reality? There is one best-qualified person for each job People of the same minority group naturally get along better with one another than with those of different groups Diversity programs benefit only minorities
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Myth or Reality? Here are some classic myths about diversity. There is one best-qualified person for each job. It is a myth that there is one best- qualified person for every job. People bring different skills and talents to work, and there may be several candidates with the right combination to perform the job well. People of the same minority group naturally get along better with one another than with those of different groups People of a minority group do not necessarily relate to one another better than they relate to people of a majority group. Diversity exists within every group regardless of skin color, gender, or age. Diversity programs benefit only minorities Diversity programs do include white males. These programs are intended to treat everyone in the workplace fairly and equally.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Making Diversity Work Let’s conclude our session on diversity by discussing several specific steps we can take to maximize the benefits of our diverse workforce. Learn the names of your co-workers and others with whom you conduct business. Use them frequently when you work together to give a personal touch that shows you recognize everyone’s individuality. When time permits, show interest in your co-workers beyond the job at hand. Ask about cultural celebrations or traditions.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Making Diversity Work Never assume stereotypes about specific groups of people. You wouldn’t appreciate co-workers assuming something about you. Use discussion guidelines at meetings to keep on topic and avoid potentially exclusive behavior that keeps minorities out of the discussion. Avoid personal comments of a derogatory nature. Supervisors need to deal with any personal attacks they witness or have reported to them immediately.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Making Diversity Work When you must discuss controversial issues in the workplace, approach the topic in a general way; don’t relate it to particular individuals. Make sure you and all employees treat males and females equally and give them equal opportunities. Avoid sexist comments to either gender.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Making Diversity Work Don’t assume the identity or racial affiliation of any individual. Don’t look at skin tone or hair type to categorize people. Don’t categorize at all! Learn acceptable terms when working with people who are different from you. “People with disabilities,” for example, instead of “handicapped.”
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Making Diversity Work Use the variety of experience among co-workers Respect differences Look at co-workers’ abilities—not their disabilities Don’t go along with insensitive comments Think inclusive—not exclusive
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Making Diversity Work (cont.) Take advantage the variety of experience among your co-workers. Respect differences—any differences. Look at co-workers’ abilities, not their disabilities. Don’t go along with insensitive comments. Speak up. Finally, think inclusive—never exclusive.
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Key Points to Remember Diversity recognizes and respects differences It encourages new ideas and perspectives It promotes fairness and allows everyone to contribute to goals and to share in success It attracts and retains high-quality employees
© Business & Legal Reports, Inc Quiz Click HERE to proceed to the quiz for this training. Your answers will be ed to MVAC and a record of this training will be placed in your personnel file.HERE
© BLR ® —Business & Legal Resources 1501 Diversity Legal Basics for Supervisors.
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