Employment Law Essay

The purpose of this report is to investigate an exact, theoretical employment situation encountered and to include the information regarding employment conflicts, questions, grievances, lawsuits, etc., in terms of how the situation was handled or resolved. Employment situations are a constant issue every day in any organization; it is how you handle them both legally and professionally that counts.

Situation
In this circumstance, an employee that is new to office politics was constantly making insulting and racial remarks. The remarks the employee was making were not deliberately insulting or racial, the employee did made the remarks ignorantly. The employee would make remarks such as “well, all the people who live in that neighborhood are white and rich” and “old people should not drive. Anyone over the age of 50 should be restricted from driving. They always cut me off. Forget it if they are Asian, it doesn’t matter what their age is.” These comments are against the diversity policy at the company the employee is employed. More than a few other employees had made other remarks in regards to comments made about African Americans and Asians from the employee. Several employees brought it to the attention of the employee’s manager to address.

Federal Employment Laws
The employee is in violation of federal laws that protect employees regarding insulting or racially remarks. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to harass someone because of the person’s race or color, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth and national origin including membership in a Native American tribe (Cheeseman, 2007). The Civil Rights Act is not just for employers but employees as well. When the employee was confronted about the situation, they said that the person he said these things to was agreeing with him. The situation was brought to the employee’s attention that it was not that particular employee that complained, rather a group of people who overheard this. Of course, this upset the employee stating that the other employees were eavesdropping and should not have been listening to his conversations. The manager had to remind the employee of the laws pertaining to harassment and that it did not matter if he had said it directly or indirectly to the offended employees.

The Effectiveness of the Law
The employee had received training in diversity and had completed a required tutorial on workplace harassment. The law is very clear in respect to workplace harassment and the employee was reprimanded appropriately. As he questioned his actions and what exactly he had done, the law provided very specific answers. When reminded of his tutorials, he abdicated that he had done wrong and accepted the consequences.

Actions Required by Law
Appropriate action is required by law. Once information is gathered it must be concluded as to whether or not some form of discrimination or harassment occurred. It is up to the company to decide how to punish the employee if a decision has been made for punishment. A discipline measure might be termination of the employee because in some cases of harassment and discrimination termination could be an option. Any employee can make a complaint to the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which would help with a discrimination case (Cheeseman, 2007).

Contract Employees
Contract employees working on behalf of the organization are as legally obligated to follow all employment laws and are as protected as full-time employees. If the contract employee was the offender, immediate dismissal could occur as long as it did not conflict with the contract between them and the organization. Most contracts have a clause which includes HR policies and procedures and what the contract employee is required or not required to do or to abide by. For example, a temporary employee is a contract employee. If they are harassed by a full-time employee, the temporary agency may act on their behalf and file a complaint against the employee and the organization. The same is true if the situation was reversed. If a contract or temporary employee violates employment laws, the organization may bring charges again the individual or the organization in which the contract employee is contracted from. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, manager, or coworker. An employer may even be liable for harassment by a nonemployee (such as a vendor or customer), depending on the circumstances (Findlaw.com, 2008).

Unions
According to San Francisco lawyer, Michael Mortimer (2006) labor law and employment law are not the same. Labor Law refers to state and federal laws related to organized labor, labor unions, union contracts, grievance procedures and a federal regulating body called the National Labor Relations Board (Cheeseman, 2007). Employment laws and labor laws are different. Employment laws usually only deal with matters that are nonunion. Many state and federal laws pertain equally to all unions (Mortimer, 2006).

Conclusion
In order to answer this question appropriately, the manager would have to consult the contract in which the employee or employees are under. As noted above, most union contracts have specifics in their contract related to discrimination and/or harassment; however, in this situation, most likely the employees would not have to go through the union to file a complaint against the offender; however, the offender would have certain protections in relation to his contract.

References

Brown, S. & Sessions, J. (2005). Employee Attitudes, Earnings and Fixed-Term Contracts: International Evidence. Review of World Economics, 141(2), 296-317. Retrieved December 22, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1569666441).

Cheeseman, H. R. (2007). The legal environment of business and online commerce. [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text].Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from University of Phoenix, rEsource, BUS415, Business Law Course Website

Find Law website. (2008). Griggs v. Duke Power Company. Retrieved December 9, 2008, from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=401&invol=424

Mortimer, M., 2006. Employment Law and Labor Law. Employlaw.com retrieved May 19, 2008 from: http://www.employlaw.com/hoffa.ht

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