Globalization and the development of the Internet technology have brought serious changes in our world today. It is as if the other side of the world is just a few seconds away. Countries which previously closed their borders to the international community were forced to open up. People who were previously isolated from the rest of the world are now being brought together by the necessity for survival in this competitive world. The desire for strong trading relations with other countries forced countries to build political alliances with other countries.
Corporations need to continuously grow to meet the ever-changing needs of the consumers. Riordan Manufacturing Inc is no exception. Riordan Manufacturing, Inc is currently the leader in the field of plastic injection molding. Its mission is to provide innovative solutions, products and services at a reasonable cost and to develop long-term relationships with its customers. To meet the demands of its world-wide clientele it opened its facilities in San Jose, California, Albany, Georgia, Pontiac, Michigan and Hangzhou, China.
These changes, however, which were brought about by globalization also created complexities on the part of the employers insofar as employee management is concerned. The differences in cultural identities and the unique practices of employees are bound to create employee-related problems for the company. With the congregation of different people, each having his own identity, in one single company, tension and conflicts were likewise created. (Diana Ayton-Shankar) Discrimination and sexual harassment issues are also bound to arise which the company is bound to anticipate.
Research shows that in a study conducted by the National Organization for Woman, they found that 80% of women surveyed in a wide variety of industries had been sexually harassed. The EEOC now handles some 5,000 new sexual harassment cases annually, double the caseload of only a few years ago. (David J. Bowman) If these concerns will not be addressed by the company, then the company may expose itself to suits. There was a case in San Francisco wherein the jury awarded the amount of more than $7M to a legal secretary harassed by a male partner in a law firm for failing to act swiftly on a sexual harassment complaint. Gerald D. Bloch) Thus, creating a non hostile and friendly working environment should also be one of the top priorities of Riordan Manufacturing, Inc. Discrimination Issues in the Workplace Since the business organization is composed of personnel coming from different countries, there is a possibility that the company may have in its employ Americans and Asians. The possibility, therefore, of racial discrimination and sexual harassment issues among the employees is not remote.
In a multi-racial organization, racial discrimination is a pressing issue which must be properly be addressed by the management. Some Managers, consciously or unconsciously prefer white employees over the black employees or Asians, considering that Riordan has facilities in China. In some business organization, the white Americans are given better work opportunities than Black Americans or Asians. In some organizations, most black employees are being hired for rank-and-file positions or they are disqualified for promotion on the simple basis of their color or race.
Another issue that the Riordan Manufacturing Inc may encounter is gender discrimination. Although the labor laws expressly prohibit gender discrimination in the workplace, it is still being practiced in several business organizations. For example if Riordan Manufacturing, Inc prefers to hire male applicants over a female applicant though they are similarly qualified for the position, it will be an outright discrimination on the ground of gender discrimination. As mentioned, there is always the possibility that sexual harassment may occur in Riordan Manufacturing Inc.
Sexual Harassment is defined by the EEOC as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: a) submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as condition of an individual’s employment, or b) submission to or rejection of the conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or c) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. “Preventing Sexual Harassment: A Fact Sheet For Employees”) State and Federal Statutes on the matter of discrimination are clear. Job treatment which includes the hiring of employees, firing of employees, and promotions of employees, must be based on qualifications and merit and not on race, gender, age, sexual preference, disability. (“Workplace Harassment and Employment Discrimination”) In these cases, it is not only the legal duty of every Human Resource Manager but its ethical duty as well to incorporate in its policy manual the rules against discrimination.
They must include in their policy manual that the management does not tolerate any form of discrimination in the business organization. It must define the acts that constitute discrimination. The policy manual must likewise include the procedure for filing of complaint against the person who utters discriminatory remarks or practices discrimination in the workplace and the penalty for those who will be found guilty after investigation is conducted. Indeed, communication is a key to avoiding discrimination in the workplace.
There must be communication by the employer in the sense that they must inform their employees that discrimination will not be tolerated by the company and that any incident of discrimination will be seriously dealt with. There must also be communication between the offended party in the sense that both parties must be given by the management opportunity to meet so that the offending party may know that the act or remark given is offensive and discriminatory.
It is possible that the other person does not have any knowledge or idea that the remark he has just uttered or the act he has just committed is offensive to the sensibilities of another. If despite the fact that he has confronted and communicated his feelings to the other person he still continues making discriminatory acts and remarks, the victim of discrimination must seek assistance from his supervisors. If there is no company policy against discriminatory acts, the victim of discrimination must report and notify immediately his immediate superior, the supervisor or the Human Resource Manager so that this could be acted upon.
To strongly implement the policy against discrimination sanctions against those who have proven to commit such acts must be put in place. Among the sanctions that could be imposed are written warning, letter of reprimand, suspension, change of job or class assignment and termination or expulsion. Conclusion I have identified three major discrimination issues that is likely to happen in Riordan Manufacturing, Inc. and explained the manner by which the company may address these issues.
Indeed, discrimination issues in the workplace should not be treated as something which ordinarily happens in the workplace. It can be avoided. A friendly, nondiscriminatory, and non-hostile environment is not a utopia. The task therefore of Managers is to anticipate these problems or if it already exists in the workplace the Managers must find solutions to these problems. Indeed, the failure to resolve these issues may lead to serious losses to the employer as it affects the performance of the employee involved.
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