Human Resource Management Critical Thinking Examples
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Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact
The Title VII of United States Civil Rights Act defines ‘Disparate Treatment’ as an intentional discriminatory behavior, policy and conduct that benefits a particular group or class over another through any preferential treatment, inclusion or exemption from a particular requirement or policy. In other words, the disparate treatment is strictly prohibited under US Law because it leads to social and moral inequality, thereby causing distrust among workers of specific groups. In contrast, Disparate Impact occurs when employers design and implement employment policies that are apparently unbiased and impartial for all groups and classes but the end results derived lead to disproportionate, unequal and preferential impact for one group against another. It should be highlighted that Title VII forbids both disparate treatment and disparate impact on account of race, ethnicity, gender, color, religion, cast, language and creed. Glass ceiling could be considered as a part of disparate treatment when it intentionally blocks entry and progress of minorities and women within any organization. Otherwise, it could become disparate impact when neutral policy exists but end results are favorable for any protected group (Noe et al)
For example, the assumption that all Muslims are extremists or terrorists, and thus the adoption of biased and discriminatory employment practices against Muslims in any US company that deliberately blocks Muslims’ induction is an example of disparate treatment. Similarly, the acceptance and induction of Muslims in pre-employment tests and interviews, but the end results of their failure in final selection stage to ensure their elimination is an example of disparate impact. In addition to Muslims who may face discrimination due to religious association, another example could be of African-Americans and Hispanics that suffer with disparate treatment and disparate impact on the basis of their ethnicity and color during employment.
It should be highlighted that employees have to provide legitimate and rational evidences for disparate treatment cases against employers to prove deliberate discrimination before jury. Employers could defend themselves through factual and justified reasons about hiring, firing, promotion and pay scale for different employees according to their skills level. In other words, a comprehensive understanding of disparate treatment and disparate impact is mandatory to a manager to become aware of legal repercussions of discriminatory treatment and discrimination with a cover of neutrality. Managers could not only avert any hidden intentions but also could highlight any unintentional wrongdoing and thus compensate victims accordingly to avoid litigation, which may harm organizational reputation, brand equity and market goodwill. For instance, the informed managers could communicate these legal policies to their subordinates to highlight that they serve an ethical and equal opportunity company that not only provides employment but also career advancement. In this way, they could win trust of employees that could later prove helpful in becoming employees’ preferred choice for employment, thereby enabling HR strategic partners to develop an organized and proactive pool of motivated, skilled, trained, and experienced and smart workers. Consequently, the strategy could also help in obtaining comparative and competitive advantage on rivals due to HR specialization and mobilization. Nonetheless, it should be concluded that companies that enjoy preferential reputation among employees due to equal opportunity treatment has to invest limited resources to lure the top caliber and smart workers unlike competitors who lack in this strategic aspect (Noe et al).
Noe, Raymond, et al. Human Resource Management. McGraw-Hill 8th edition, 2012, Print.
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