Good Literature Review About Eeoc And Managing Diversity
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Workplace diversity is a broad and often contentious term to define fully. However, its abuses lead the United States Congress to pass Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1969, which created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and tasked it to implement the Act and the subsequent diversity laws, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Historically, the acceptance of the diversity concept particularly among companies took years to grow. And EEOC’s enforcement power came years after its establishment in 1969. Managing workplace diversity only gained favor within the last decade or two. Ten articles reviewed consist of peer-reviewed articles, advocate-group literature, and website articles. EEOC articles indicate Congressional distrust arising from its growing image as a civil rights advocate and incidents of potential discretionary abuse in the conduct of the conciliation process. Workplace diversity management articles cover common issues, such as workplace discrimination on the basis of age, skin color, gender, and ethnicity and specific behaviors such as sexual harassment. Approaches center towards the push for the conciliation option in EEOC interventions, encouraging harmonious and respectful diversity in the workplace, employee diversity education, and fast action to address punishable behaviors either among employees, the suppliers, and the customers as they occur.
Diversity is a broad, and often contested, concept of broad characteristic components. However, oftentimes these differences usually had been defined using demographic characteristics such as race or ethnicity, gender, disability, and religion. Perception of employees, particularly among the minority or ethnic groups, integrates or alienates those affected, resulting to various psychosocial problems at work, such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, and even social withdrawal. The impacts that attracted legislative and enforcement attention, however, consist primarily of discrimination. Moreover, the practice of diversity management gained its impetus with the passing of the diversity regulatory laws, such as the Civil Rights of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. In the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) received the mandate of implementing the diversity laws.
However, a look at the history of EEOC and diversity management, which originated in the United States, is expected to provide a broad but deeper appreciation of the rough roads that both concepts had gone through. Such level of appreciation may assist in precisely projecting what would diversity management would be in the future and EEOC’s relevance as a regulatory and prosecutorial agency.
This literature review covers the history of EEOC, the three laws it is tasked to implement, and its activities in the private and government workplaces, and insights on how to manage this diversity in the workplace. The ten articles used in this review consists of peer-reviewed sources (3 articles such as Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal, Emory Law Journal, and HR Magazine), advocacy and non-profit group literature (3 articles), commercial and non-profit websites (3 articles), and online newsmagazines (1 article).
During the deliberation over the proposed Civil Rights Act, the U.S. Congress initially modeled the agency after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which had been granted authority to issue a cease-and-desist order (CDO). The Republicans vehemently resisted and prevailed (Dunn, 2013). Eventually, the Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the aim of preventing discrimination in the workplace. It prohibits employers from discriminatory policies and practices based on race, skin color, gender, or national origin. The Title established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is tasked to receive and investigate employment discrimination allegations as well to initiate resolutions such as conciliation and enforcement by filing a suit (Occhialino & Vail, 2005).
For years after enactment, the law remained like a “toothless tiger,” able only to discharge its administrative duties, until the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 passed. However, during the legislative hearing, the debate over granting CDO power on EEOC resurfaced. However, the Republicans again resisted and prevailed. After less than a decade, EEOC had acquired a reputation for being “mission-based” and becoming an advocate for civil rights (Dunn, 2013). Another contentious point lied in the statutory language that failure at conciliation would render EEOC decision to file a case non-reviewable in “any” court. This time, legislative permission was granted in favor of the deferential review standard.
Civil Rights Act of 1964: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires an initial conciliation step between the complainant employee and the accused employer before the EEOC charging the latter with discrimination (Dunn, 2013). Its administrative duties follow the subsequent order: (a) receipt of employment discrimination allegation: detailed notice of allegation will be sent to the concerned employer; (b) investigate: if no reasonable cause is found (dismissal); and (c) conciliate: if there is reasonable cause attempt to eliminate unlawful discriminatory practice is initiated; an invitation will be sent to the employer for participation in the proceeding within a specified time frame; then a proposed conciliation agreement will be sent. Its enforcement duties follow when two outcomes occur: the employer refused to participate in the conciliation, or the employer participated but the conciliation failed. In either case, EEOC has statutory obligation to initiate the suit.
The recent EEOC Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016 disclose its priority on employers engaging in alleged “systemic discrimination” as this practice have the broadest impact on a profession, a company, an industry, and even a specific geographical area (Dunn, 2013). The point of vagary, however, is its standard of review, without which implementation of this law may be highly susceptible to EEOC abuse. In the case of EEOC v. Asplundhi Tree Expert Co., EEOC demanded, in the proposed conciliation agreement, three remedies that cannot be carried out by Asplundhi (thus, would bring the process to suit filing): (1) the complainant should be reinstated into the project that ended three years earlier (and the office implementing the project had already been closed); (2) the complainant be provided a front pay (same inexistent situations), and; (3) the employer should conduct a nationwide antidiscrimination training for all its employees within 90 days (a rather frantic time frame for training).
Moreover, the circuit courts assigned to hear EEOC cases have two different review standards: (a) a deferential standard: EEOC need only to make a “good faith effort” in the conciliation process [circuits Sixth and Tenth]; (b) a stringent standard: EEOC should satisfy a three-pronged test that centered on “reasonableness and responsiveness” of conduct “under all the circumstances” [circuits Second, Fifth, and Eleventh]. And, Dunn (2013) insisted that the text, the purpose, and the legislative history of Title VII are consistent with the latter review standard.
Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972: When the EEOA of 1972 passed, the clause of EEOC immunity from judicial review was not incorporated (Dunn, 2013). The EEOC cannot act whimsically and capriciously without facing sanctions by the courts through judicial review wherein the reviewing court examines both the process and content of reconciliation.
Civil Rights Act of 1991: The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation [BPWF] (1992) looks into the Civil Rights Act of 1991 as a reinforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through the creation of a test for harassment behavior.
EEOC in the workplace
The EEOC requires employers to provide their employees with anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training, without which employers become accountable to their employees’ behavior in the workplace in the eyes of the law (The HR Specialist, 2013). Moreover, the agency provides training and guidance through their Technical Assistance Program Seminars (TAPS). In a one-day TAPS, EEOC staff can provide training and guidance to any employer, HR professionals, and unions to prevent issues arising. The objective is information dissemination to employees on relevant topics such as legal updates, mediation producers, and recent developments (Woodward, 2001).
Managing workplace diversity
Lytle (2014) insisted that gender discrimination is an important of diversity issue in the workplace, perhaps even more central than age and wage. Legislations, such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Genetic Information Discrimination Act of 2008, had provide a positive trend in the efforts expended towards addressing anti-diversity issues in the workplace. Moreover, it also provides a hint on the future legislative direction, promising the quelling of discriminatory practices in the workplace. Alternatively, Scott (2015) proposed cultural training as valuable approach to diversity education in the workplace. Awareness of cultural diversity, and the resultant diversity of values there is within the company, can help employees understand each other as well as their customers. Moreover, it can support the identification of values essential in supporting cultural differences. She also recommended finding common ground amidst an environment rich in diversity of perspectives and opinions, encouraging introspection and respect.
The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation [BPWF] (1992) suggests that sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment. EEOC defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors,” and similar behaviors that represent as an explicit or implicit “condition of employment or employment decisions.” It is also, as a form of sexual discrimination, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 also provided added safeguards in understanding sexual harassment from the male and the female perspective. The institution stated that a large majority of victims refuse to file claims primarily due to the fear of being disbelieved and having to open their private lives to public scrutiny. The recommendations it proposed include the utilization of legal remedies, increased communication in the workplace, and the education of employer about its real cost in the workplace. The Equal Rights Advocates (n. d.) provided a more detailed description of sexual harassment. The act includes verbal (e.g. romantic insinuations), written or behavioral (e.g. impending movement) communication.
Yost (2013) suggested approaches in handling sexual harassment reports of employees by suppliers or customers. First, employers should commit as a duty in practice, even if not in written policy, to come to the employee’s aid. Second, immediate action should be taken between employers, the aggrieved employee’s employer calling the accused employee’s employer (customers should be asked to leave from the premises). Although, it is suggested that no review of the written corporate policy may be conducted to respond effectively against sexual harassment from external stakeholders, doing so, however, could provide a well-defined and official stance against sexual harassment in the workplace. Moreover, an official policy against such conduct can communicate to the employees the level of seriousness that the Company holds against this legally punishable behavior.
Conclusion and recommendations
The growing reputation of the EEOC as a civil rights advocate is alarming if true. Its objectivity as an evaluator employment equality will be compromised and skewed in favor of the employee complainant and against the employer. And, the more target-oriented it becomes in taking more cases that it had before, the more dangerous EEOC can be for the employer. The solutions apparently include pushing for a stringent review standards in the circuit court and to ensure that compliance with EEO requirements is meticulously monitored.
The strong preponderance of retaliation cases reaching EEOC indicates a contemporary workplace that continued to defy anti-discrimination laws, a condition that employers need to take seriously and do something about. Without compliance, employers will be as liable for the discrimination behavior of its employees. Its only waiver is consistent compliance, particularly in terms of regular diversity training seminars to keep everyone updated.
The consensus of recommendations from the reviewed literature in managing workplace diversity centers in appreciating the richness of a diverse work environment and finding common grounds with which each employee can coordinate and cooperate with each other. Moreover, a pervasive mutuality of respect, introspection, and commitment to non-discrimination will forward considerably conducive environment where employees can work productively and in peace. When the threat emanates from external stakeholders, such as suppliers and customers, the managers need to act quickly on the situation in order to protect the employee attacked and in proper corporate channels to ensure effective handling and non-repetition of the prohibited act (e.g. sexual harassment, discrimination behavior).
Furthermore, the company should ensure a clear and official stance against discrimination in the workplace both in written policy and in practice so to install deterrence in the system.
Business and Professional Women’s Foundation. (1992, April). Crime of power, not passion:
Sexual harassment in the workplace. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED363525
Dunn, E. (2013). No longer a paper tiger: The EEOC and its statutory duty to conciliate. Emory
Law Journal, 63(2), 455-488.
Equal Rights Advocates. (n.d.). Sexual harassment at work. Equalrights.org. Retrieved from
Knezevich, C. (2014). Unfair infographic: New EEOC states show critical need for improved
workplace harassment training. The Network Integrated GRC Solution. Retrieved from https://www.tnwinc.com/7382/workplace-harassment-training-infographic
Lytle, T. (2014, June). Title VII changed the face of American workplace. Society for Human
Resource Management. Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/pubications/editorialcontent/2014/0614/pages0614-civil-rights.aspx
Occhialino, A.N. & Vail, D. (2005). The 40th anniversary of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 Symposium: Why the EEOC (still) matters. Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal, 671(1).
Scott, S. (2015). Cultural diversity training and education in the workplace.
Smallbussineschrom.com. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron/cultural-diversity-training-education-workplace-1853.html
The HR Specialist. (n.d.). Stop harassment (and cut liability) with comprehensive training.
Business Management Daily. Retrieved from http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/33943/stop-harassment-and-cut-liability-with-comprehensive-training
Woodward, N.H. (2001, September). Help from the EEOC? HR Magazine, 46(9), 123-127.
Yost, L. (2013, June). Duty to respond. Parks & Recreation, 48(6), 36-38.
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