CASE STUDY ON WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION6
CaseStudy on Workplace Discrimination
CaseStudy on Workplace Discrimination
Thecontemporary business community has to deal with cases of workplacediscrimination. Cultural, racial, ethnic, and gender diversity hasincreased in the modern workplace. The increased level of diversitybrings together people from all walks of life to work together tomeet their individual and company goals. Differences among employeesare likely to cause misunderstandings based on the stereotypes orbiases they have about certain groups(Green,2008). The differences occur when employees extend their biases andstereotypical thinking against colleagues who belong to a differentethnic, racial, religious, or gender background. It is worth notingthat sexual orientation has also become an important form ofdiversity protected by the anti-discrimination laws. At nationallevel, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforcesanti-discrimination laws in the workplace(Gomez-Mejia,Balkin, &Cardy, 2016). The pieces of legislation passed by theCongress to protect people from discrimination in the workplaceinclude The Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Americans with DisabilitiesAct, The Age Discrimination Act, and the Pregnancy discriminationAct. The EEOC carries out investigations on complaints submitted byindividuals or union groups. It also files law suits of it findsevidence pointing out a case of violations in regards to allanti-discrimination laws.
Thecase of MarShawn DeMur at the Treton Corporation is an interestingcase. Once Jenkins and DeMur’s colleagues became aware of thelatter’s religious beliefs, they responded in a discriminatorymanner. DeMur was not aware of stereotypes about his Church ofSpirituality in Kansas(Combs,2009). When DeMur first asks for Jenkins for permission to be awayfor a week to prepare for his ordination to be a full-fledged memberof his church, he gets a biased judgment from him. Jenkins shows hisprejudiced attitude by questioning the authenticity of DeMur’sreligion. Jenkins discloses his attitude towards DeMur’s religiousbeliefs when he says that, “what you describe sounds strange.” Inother words he disagrees with DeMur’s beliefs because they aredifferent from what he believes to be the correct way to bereligious. Jenkins finally allows DeMur to be away for one weekthough reluctantly. DeMur’s employees also question the content ofthe pamphlets he reads on his desk during day breaks at work. Thepamphlets contain content about his church and religious beliefs. His colleagues also inquire about his religious beliefs in a mannerthat shows their biased view of his beliefs.
Coworkersperceive DeMur’s internationalist beliefs as strange and they do soby saying that locals in Kansas refer to the religion as “voodooistsand partakers of witchcraft and sorcery.” DeMur’s effort toprovide facts about his religions to counter the stereotypes seems tofall on deaf ears. When he comes back he faces an unwelcomeenvironment. DeMur’s co-workers give him strange looks the day hecomes back from the week-long vacation with his fellowinternationalists. They respond to his greetings by simply “noddingtheir heads and laugh as they walk way immediately.” In his office,DeMur finds decorations of dolls with pins sticking out of variousparts, witch hats and containers of incense. DeMur also finds apicture of Africa decorated with strange letterings and symbols.Jenkins response to what DeMur finds in his office is appalling. Hesarcastically tells DeMur that he has some admirers in the company.To DeMur’s surprise, Jenkins tells him that he should have expected“some lighthearted ribbing about his conversion to that strangereligion of his.” Jenkins tells DeMur to admit thatinternationalist “do some weird things.”
Afew months letter DeMur gets notes left on his desk and inside hiscar with references about black cats, black magic, requests of palmreadings and notices about the disappearance of MarShawn DeMur(referring to his change of name to Maalick after converting tobecome a follower of the Church of International Spirituality). DeMurdecides to report to report his predicament to the HR department whenhe finds several sheets on his desk bearing chants with a title,“Prayers for Black Folk” and a book with title, “MysticalPractices from the Negro Experience.” All the actions of DeMur’scoworkers amount to discrimination and harassment based on hisreligious beliefs and possibly his racial background. Treton shouldconsider implementing the elements of Title IV, Section 704 (b) ofthe Civil Rights Act 1964(Kalev,2009). Title IV has prohibits employers from engaging or allowing anyform of discrimination against potential employees and hiredemployees based on their religion, gender, ethnic, or racialbackground.
Theactions of the HR Director, Marta Ford towards DeMur’s predicamentare fair. Marta’s effort to immediately convene a meeting withdepartmental heads to issuing specific warnings against such behaviorfrom DeMur’s co-workers is remarkable. An employer is mandated bythe law to make such efforts as to stop any act of discrimination inits premises(Trenerry,Franklin & Paradies, 2012). Furthermore, the specific coworkersresponsible for DeMur’s predicament are unknown and it was onlylogical that Marta deals with issue in general terms. Marta couldhave initiated actions that deter employees from engagingdiscriminatory acts so that another employee does not face what DeMurgoes through in future. One of the actions Marta could have taken isto ban all manner of religious talk in the workplace and make itunnecessary for an employee to disclose their religious beliefs.Jenkins actions are prejudicial. From the time he learns of DeMur’sreligious affiliation, he treats him differently. Jenkins’deliberate failure to deal with DeMur’s complaints show that hesomewhat approves what goes on. DeMur’s decision to file for actionagainst religious discrimination and racial harassment comes after aseries of deliberate prejudicial responses from Jenkins including hisdecision to hire a member of his church as a systems manager byrejecting DeMur regardless of his work experience and excellentperformance. The vice president of the Equal Employment opportunityand diversity (EEO) might compel Treton, especially its Chenworthbranch, to initiate actions that show remorse to DeMur includingwritten apologies within a specific timeline. Dixon might alsorequire Marta to provide a periodic report of the progress of theanti-discriminatory measures in the company(Gelfand,Nishii, Raver, & Schneider, 2007). Treton’s failure to act asdirected by Dixon may lead to legal action based on federalanti-discrimination legislation. The broader implications of thesituation at Treton are a possible liability as a result of legalaction and a damaged reputation especially if DeMur’s case isbroadcasted in the media. Dixon might order for a comprehensive auditof all discriminatory acts that have been reported by employees andthe actions the company has taken to prevent the continuity of suchactions. The review will form the basis of internal action toprevent further cases of discrimination and harassment.
Inconclusions, DeMur’s case is an example of workplace discriminationsituations facing the modern workplace. Many organizations have ananti-discrimination policy, but its enforcement faces challenges whenjunior managers condone discrimination acts in departments oraffiliates of the organization. DeMur’s experience at Tretonindicates full-blown discrimination first by fellow employees andsecondly by Clive Jenkins, the Midwest facilities director and hissupervisor. The most interesting aspect of DeMur’s experience atTreton is that his religious beliefs have a greater influence on whathappens to him than the fact he is an African-American employee in acorporation with majority white employees.
Combs,G. (2009). Religious Discrimination and Racial Harassment: What EverHappened to MarShawn DeMur?–Student Workbook. Management DepartmentFaculty Publications, 52.
Gelfand,M. J., Nishii, L. H., Raver, J. L., & Schneider, B. (2007).Discrimination in organizations: An organizational-level systemsperspective. CAHRS Working Paper Series, 470.
Gomez-Mejia,L. R., Balkin, D. B., &Cardy, R. L. (2016). Managinghuman resources(8thed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Green,T. (2008). Discomfort at work: workplace assimilation demands, socialequality, and the contact hypothesis. North Carolina Law Review, 86,379.
Kalev,A. (2009). Cracking the Glass Cages? Restructuring and AscriptiveInequality at Work1. American Journal of Sociology, 114(6),1591-1643.
Trenerry,B., Franklin, H., & Paradies, Y. (2012). Preventing Race-BasedDiscrimination and Supporting Cultural Diversity in the Workplace-AnEvidence Review: Full Report. Victoria Health Promotion Foundation,Melbourne, Australia.