TITLE VII AND DISCRIMINATION BASED ON NATIONAL ORIGIN
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According to Mathew Bender's research republished by EECO, one in ten Americans is foreign born, and one in eight is Hispanic. Immigrants compose 12% of the work force, and almost 40% of new jobs are filled by immigrants. These are target groups for this research report paper who are believed to be facing discrimination from employers based on who they look like and where they come from. This paper is intended to provide a brief overview of the effectiveness of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on reducing and or eliminating discrimination based on national origin. The aims of title VII and facts on current situation will be presented to support the argument. Different types of discrimination by employers that targets national origin will be addressed. The objective is to assess what the performance of the US labor law looks like when it comes to implementing its purpose for which it stands for. Special emphasis will be given to Title VII and its role in enforcing to alleviate discrimination based on national origin. Definitions of discrimination and discrimination based on national origin will be presented. Besides, full version of Title VII and treatment of foreign workers in conjunction with protecting the nation against terrorist attacks will be covered.
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The role of EEOC that plays in charges alleging that individuals have been denied equal employment opportunities for reason that are grounded in national origin considerations will be explored. Various forms of discrimination aimed at country of birth or affiliation to some sort of ethnic group will be discussed. The effect of discrimination on employees productivity, the role of HRM in managing discriminatory actions in the work place and methodologies that need to be used by employers in hiring the right employee in accordance with labor laws & laws from Department of Homeland Security will be given due consideration in this paper.
Complaints of discrimination based on national origin and the effort made by the EEOC to resolve the issue, lawsuits and their final fate, the cost of litigation by employers will be highlighted.
There will be several types of sources used during the course of this discussion. Most of these sources will be policies and procedures of EEOC, peer review journals, essays and articles written by news reporters & various sources searched on the web. Finally, conclusion and remedial solutions will be discussed at the end of the paper.
2. BRIEF OVERVIEW OF TITLE VII AND DISCRIMINATION BASED ON NATIONAL ORIGIN
According to EECO definition, “national origin discrimination means treating someone less favorably because that individual (or his or her ancestors) is from a certain place or belongs to a particular national origin group.” The Equal Employment Commission of the US expands this definition and included the following forms of discrimination to the original definition.
Ethnic groups: “Discriminating an employee because he or she belongs to a certain ethnic group, as for instance if he or she is an Arab or a Gypsy.”
Physical, linguistic or cultural traits: “A form of discrimination against an employee whose physical, linguistic or cultural traits are closely associated with a national origin group. For example discriminating an employee because he or she wears a headdress or turban where there is no mandated dressing code or uniform.”
Perception: “Discriminating an individual because of his or her perceived membership to an ethnic group or national origin group even if she or he is not actually a member. For example who resembles an Arab in speech, mannerism or appearance even he or she is not of an Arab ethnicity”.
Race and religion: A person may face discrimination for mere reason of following a religion. . He/she may be discriminated against because of her looks and acts. Mostly religion and race are factors for discriminations based on national origin. The Civil Rights Act 1964 Title VII gives protection to citizens from any racial and religious as well as national origin discrimination. According to EEOC report, time and time again, charges show that employers are discriminating employees based on what they worship, who they look like and what decent they are from.
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3. FACTS ABOUT NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINATION
Title VII is among federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals because of their race, color, national origin, or sex. To provide an in-depth look to title VII, it would be advisable to dictate the scope of title VII protection and its exceptions.
“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1996, as amended, protects individuals against employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Title VII principles of disparate treatment and adverse impact equally apply to national origin discrimination.”
The National security Exception:” it is not unlawful employment practice to deny employment opportunities to any individual who does not fulfill the national security requirement stated on section 703(g) of title VII”
The Bona fide occupational qualification exception: “The exception stated on 703(e) of title VII, that national origin may be a bona fide occupational qualification, shall be strictly construed.”
According to the statistical data compiled by the office of research, Information and planning from 1997 to 2007, total number of charges filed under Title VII alleging national origin-based discrimination is rapidly growing. According to EEOC report, it has received 9,936 charges of national origin discrimination, in 2007. This data shows an increase of 13% & 40% compared with that of 2006 and 1997, respectively.
In the Fiscal year 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has effectively filed and resolved 7,773 national origin discrimination charges using various legal resolutions. Accordingly, employers have incurred total settlement cost of $22.8 million in the year 2007. This sum doesn't include monetary benefits obtained through litigation and given to victims. The figure has a 151% & 7.5% increment compared with the years 1996 and 2006 respectively. This indicates the effectiveness of Title VII on enforcing its aims for which it stands for.
4. MAJOR AREAS OF NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINAITONS
National origin discrimination covers wide areas of employeement decisions. According to EEOC report, “discrimination based on national origin has been filed regarding recruitments, hiring, promotions, transfers, wages and benefits, work assignments, leave, layoffs and /or terminations, discipline, training and apprenticeship programs.”
The author of this paper has a chance to observe recruitment process in government job that have been advertised through ‘www.usajobs.com.” Even though each job has its own specifications, all have on thing in common, a question of biographic data. This question asks what race or group an applicant belongs to. According to this observation, the question of national origin is implied with in that questioner. That is the place where discrimination on recruitment starts. Once a candidate fills up the application identifying who he/she is, the probability of being called for interview is in question if the name or group on the application doesn't sounds familiar. The same is believed to be true in other areas of employeement decisions.
The general purpose of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is to outlaw employer and union practices that discriminate against employees on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. However, in situations of the author's experience mentioned above, it is hard for this law to be enforced because applicants do not know employers discriminatory selection procedures.
Employers have been blamed for using various discriminatory rules that violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the many types, the following are key areas of discrimination based on national origin:
i) Language Fluency: It was not long when the US senate approved the bill designating English as our country's national language. This bill believed to have far reaching implications for the laws governing discrimination in the workplace.
In 1990, 32 million people in the U.S, or about six percent of the population five and older, spoke a language other than English at home. By 2000, the figure increased to 47 million people. Based on this trend, one can estimate how huge the current figure might be. As this trend has continued, and as the workforce has absorbed increasing number of individuals who cannot speak English or for whom English is a second language, the EEOC has addressed a rising number of complaints alleging national origin discrimination. Major issues that were mentioned in the charges are English-only rule, language proficiency and accent related discriminations. When employers mandate fluency or accent -related requirements in the hiring and selection process including job descriptions, job titles, worker specifications, application for employeement forms, pre-employment forms, test administration and validity, interview procedures, referral procedures, final selection processes, or other similar factors, they are discriminating based on national origin based on language and violating Title VII at the same time. For example if two candidates have possess the same level of English proficiency, but the employer favors the candidate with a British accent over the candidate with a Russian accent, the employer may be charged with unlawful national origin discrimination. Of course, an employer who shows a bias against accents associated with all national origin may also be charged with unlawful discrimination.
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ii.) Citizenship Requirements: Two US laws make citizenship and/or permanent residency requirement illegal. These laws, Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive order 11246, have direct or indirect involvement in protecting discrimination based on national origin. Besides, Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prevent employers with four or more employees from discriminating because of citizenship status against U.S. citizens. IRCA is designed to complement Title VII. Its purpose is it to cover areas that are not covered by Title VII. It also forbids national origin discrimination by employers with between four to fourteen employees. The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employeement practices Civil Rights Division, at the Department of Justice puts IRCA's nondiscrimination requirements into effect.
In some cases, employers may justify recruitment and other selection decisions based on security requirements. Title VII allows refusal to hire, or termination, where an individual does not meet job requirements that are forced in the interest of national security under any security program iii) Workplace Harassment:
Studies indicate that throughout America, harassment on work environment based on national origin is a fact of life for many immigrant employees. A recent study at the University of Michigan found that 46.8% of foreign born employees have complained about being harassed based on their national origin. The number of such charges filed to EEOC has dramatically increased year after year. Title VII prohibits offensive conduct, such as ethnic slurs, that create a hostile work environment based on national origin. Employers have a responsibility to maintain a workplace free of national origin harassment. Employers may be responsible for any on-the-job harassment by their agents and supervisory employees, regardless of whether the acts were authorized or specifically forbidden by the employer. Under certain circumstance, an employer may be responsible for the acts of non-employees who harass their employee at work.
5. CHALLENGES OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ON ACCOMODATING LABOR LAWS AND PRODUCTIVITY.
The number of immigrants in the US labor force reached a historic high of 22 million, or 14.5 percent of the total labor force, in 2005. If the number of immigrant workers in the United States continues along its current trajectory, immigrants may make up between one- third and one-half of the growth of the US labor force by 2030. Immigrant workers have played an important role in the growth of the US labor force in recent history and will continue to play an important role in the future. On the contrary, immigrants are the ones who face discrimination based how they look and/or sound. This drags down employee productivity and creates a burden on human resources management while a company manager is spending his/her productive time in reconciling and resolving such problems. As the number of immigrant employees increases in an organization, it is sometimes inevitable to face large number of national discrimination complains and may bring huge settlement costs
Human resource leaders must truly value and understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in diversity. Organizations must have a culture that supports and nourishes performance through diversity. As work place harassment caused by national origin discrimination increases, the cost of managing human capital increases and productivity decreases. Moreover, the reputation and moral of organizations that are involved in frequent allegations will be affected negatively.
In order to avoid such problems, employers should be cautious in designing their job in way that can accommodate diversity. They can make affirmative specifications on their job descriptions, selection guidelines, promotions standards, transfer and pay issues etc.
Equal Opportunity Employment Laws should be displayed in supervisors' board and should be accessible for employees view.
Debra S. Katz and Andric J. Ms. Workplace Harassment Now, Magazine, October 2006.
Julie Anthey, HR Executive Special Report- Recognizing and Responding to workplace discrimination 2008
B. Lindsay Lowell, Gulia Gelatt and Jean Batalova Immigrant and labor force trends: The past, present and future Migration Policy Institute, Insight No. 13, 2006
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guideline, 2000
Employment and discrimination, U.S. Department of Justice