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18 Civil Rights at Work Chapter This chapter:Discusses employment discrimination. Explains the evolution of laws and methods used to fight it over the years. McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Johnson Controls, Inc. Opening CaseJohnson Controls banned fertile women from certain battery-making jobs where workers inhaled lead particles that could lead to birth defects. Some women workers thought this was sexist and violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1991, the Supreme Court agreed. The Court also stated that for Johnson Controls, obeying federal civil rights law was a defense against future lawsuits by children impaired in the womb. This story illustrates the strong protections available in federal civil rights law for women who claim discrimination in the workplace. 18-3 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Short History of Workplace Civil Rights The Colonial EraEmployment discrimination in America can be dated from 1619. In the Declaration of Independence, “unalienable” rights are natural rights. Natural rights exist on a higher plane than civil rights, which are rights bestowed by governments on their citizens. The unalienable rights statement in the Declaration distills a body of doctrine know as the American Creed. 18-4 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Civil War and ReconstructionIn the United States, the issue of slavery rose to a crisis in the Civil War. In 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Following the war, Congress passed three constitutional amendments designed to protect the rights of former slaves. These amendments were supplemented by a series of civil rights acts passed by Congress. With little enforcement of these laws, southern states adopted segregationist statutes called Jim Crow laws. 18-5 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Other Groups Face Employment DiscriminationNative Americans were widely treated as inferior. When Mexico ceded Texas, 90,000 Hispanics became U.S. residents, but were victims of a range of discriminatory actions. In 1851, Chinese laborers began to enter the country to be met by economic and racial discrimination. The earliest Japanese immigrants found similar inhospitality. 18-6 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Civil Rights Cases The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed to prevent racial discrimination. There was still widespread discrimination against freed slaves by business and soon a series of cases reached the Supreme Court. These cases were consolidated into one opinion by the Court in 1883 and called the Civil Rights Cases. The Civil Rights Cases so narrowed the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment that it became irrelevant to a broad range of economic and social bias. 18-7 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Plessy v. Ferguson The Separate Car Act was passed by Louisiana in 1890. On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy, who was 7/8 Caucasian and 1/8 African, was asked to move to the “nonwhite” coach. Plessy refused and was taken to a New Orleans jail. Plessy brought suit, claiming he was entitled to “equal protection of the laws” as stated in the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court disagreed. The ruling completed the destruction of the Fourteenth Amendment as a mechanism to guarantee civil rights. 18-8 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Long Years of DiscriminationSouthern legislators were emboldened by Plessy. Jim Crow laws spread. Black workers faced blatant discrimination. These customs spread to the north. 18-9 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a new civil rights movement arose. The pressures of this movement led to many social reforms, among them passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Its Title VII prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment. Title VII also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 18-10 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Disparate Treatment and Disparate ImpactTitle VII enforced a legal theory of disparate treatment. When Title VII went into effect, employees could no longer engage in outwardly visible displays of discrimination. The flaw in Title VII was that it contained no weapon to fight disparate impact. 18-11 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Griggs Case In Griggs v. Duke Power, the Supreme Court held that diploma requirements and tests that screened out blacks or other protected classes were illegal unless employers could show that they were related to job performance or justified by business necessity. The Griggs decision, and the legal theory of disparate impact it created, was necessary for Title VII to work. In 1978 the EEOC defined illegal disparate impact for employers with a guideline know as the 80 percent rule. 18-12 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Affirmative Action The origin of most affirmative action in corporations is Executive Order The Labor Department issued Order No. 4, which requires federal contractors to analyze major job categories to find out if they are using women and minorities in the same proportion as they are present in the area labor force. If protected groups are underrepresented, companies must set up goals and timetables for hiring, retention, and promotion. 18-13 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Supreme Court Changes Title VIIThe first high-profile challenge came from Allan Bakke, a white male denied admission to medical school, claiming reverse discrimination. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor. A white laboratory analyst, Brian Weber, brought suit against Kaiser Aluminum claiming a promotion selection procedure violated Title VII. The Court ruled against him saying Kaiser’s affirmative action plan embodied “the spirit of the law.” 18-14 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Supreme Court Changes Title VII (continued)These rulings established important criteria for judging the legality of subsequent affirmative action programs: A plan must be designed to break down historic patterns of race or sex discrimination. The plan must not create an absolute bar to the advance of white employees. The plan must not require the discharge of white workers. The plan should be flexible and temporary. 18-15 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Affirmative Action DebateUtilitarian considerations. Ethical theories of justice raise questions about the ultimate fairness of affirmative action. Affirmative action may be debated in light of ethical theories on rights. 18-16 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Women in the Workplace Today 60 percent of all women work, making up 47 percent of the labor force. What is new is the tendency for married women with children to hold jobs. The number of women at work varies around the globe with economic development and cultural tradition. At 60 percent, the United States has the highest female labor force participation among high-income nations. Lowest participation is found in Arab nations. 18-17 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Gender Attitudes at WorkThe new feminist perspective asserted that working women were entitled to the same jobs, rights, and ambitions as men. Men who believed in traditional sex-role stereotypes thought that women were too emotional to manage well; lacked ambition, logic, and toughness; and could not sustain career drive because of family obligations. There is no evidence that such stereotypes of male and female behavior have a biological basis. Whatever the perceptions of men and women in corporations, there is no persuasive body of evidence that men and women behave differently as managers. 18-18 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Persistence of Traditional StereotypesSurveys have documented a marked decline in negative stereotyping following the rapid gains of the women’s movement after the 1960s. However, a gap continues to exist in which women are far more likely to perceive sex-related obstacles to their advancement than men. Although stereotyping of women is receding, it will be many years before the male-female perception gap narrows to insignificance. 18-19 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Occupational Segregation18-20 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Subtle DiscriminationMany workplace cultures are based on masculine values. In blue-collar settings, sexism may be blatant; some men will openly express biases. In managerial settings, sex discrimination is usually subtle, even unintentional. Masculine cultures underlie many kinds of differential treatment. Men and women learn different ways of speaking in childhood. Later in life these conversation styles carry over into the workplace, where they can place women at a disadvantage. 18-21 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Compensation Women earn less than men.Occupational segregation places women in female-dominated occupations that tend to be lower paying than male-dominated ones. Women pay a heavy earnings penalty for child bearing and child rearing. The earnings gap reflects elements of discrimination. The pay gap between men and women is worldwide, although in most other nations it is lower than in the United States. 18-22 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Sexual Harassment 18-23 McGraw-Hill/Irwin© 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corporate Efforts to Promote DiversityMany large firms go beyond compliance to promote workforce diversity. Diversity management is a broader effort than affirmative action. Advocates promote diversity management using two arguments: It is an ethical action needing no justification beyond its inherent goodness. It can strengthen business. To succeed, a diversity management program must be part of the corporate management system. 18-24 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Concluding ObservationsThe first national effort to end workplace discrimination began during the Civil War. This effort floundered because societal values hindered the enforcement of the laws. In the 1960s, a second effort began with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today the accumulated corpus of antidiscrimination law is massive, complex, and controversial but overall, it works. However, more needs to be done. 18-25 McGraw-Hill/Irwin © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Civil Rights at Work Chapter 18 This chapter: Discusses employment discrimination. Explains the evolution of laws and methods used to fight it over.
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