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Discrimination is the act of, making a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person belongs. In many companies employees get treated differently by their employers because of their race, gender and age among other issues. This unequal treatment is called job discrimination. a good example is when employee is treated unfairly because he or she has a family to care for .This kind of employees are known as care givers. Employees do not have to undergo discrimination as there are laws that exist that are meant protect them. Courts have played a very important part in implementing most of this law. Employers on the other hand should not take advantage over their employees but should respect and treat all equally.
The lock woods case is a very good example of discrimination. This case involves a mother of two Dena Lockwood aged 39. She had been working since she was 18 years old, but in her previous employments she was not discriminated against because of her responsibilities as a mother. In 2004 she changed jobs and took a job as a saleswoman at Professional Neurological Services Ltd. At this company she was treated differently just for being as a parent. She was ignored during sales meetings and was greatly underpaid getting $25,000 which was nearly half of what her fellow employees who were single were being paid that is $45000 .After negotiating for equal pay her commission was lowered from ten percent to five percent. She was tricked in her contract that her salary commission would be increased if she hit a target of $300,000 in her sells, and after she did so, this target was raised. Her vacation time was only five days a year yet she was a mother. She was not allowed to have time off as freely as the other employees. When she had to take a day off to take her four year old daughter to hospital she was fired immediately without any reasonable explanation. This was not the same case as with the other employees because one was even allowed a day of to repair her home. After being fired she filed a complaint against the company at the Chicago Commission on Human Relations which she won and was there after compensated. (Sachdev, 2006)
This case was of great importance especially to other employees who were facing discrimination at their work places because they are caregivers. This case enabled many such cases to come to light.it also made employers to come up with better policies offering flexible working arrangements to caregivers. Some employment laws were also changed such as the family responsibilities discrimination. This led to reduction in such cases over time due to the implementation of such laws by the courts.
There are a number of existing federal laws barring job discrimination based on gender, pregnancy or disability that offer protection to many caregivers. There are two major gender related laws one is the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination. While the other is the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This law ensures that care givers are paid as equally as their co workers and those they are not discriminated against because they are parents or in cases of pregnancy. In the case of disabilities there are also two major laws one of which is the Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments. Another is contained in Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government. This law ensures that caregivers are given equal employment opportunities even though they have family responsibilities so long as they have the necessary qualifications for these jobs. A more important law is the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination. This law ensures that if the caregivers are in any way intentionally discriminated at work against they are liable to monetary compensation just like in the Lockwood's case. (Axel-Lute, 2010)
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Over time Courts have increasingly become more family-friendly in their court case decisions. This is shown by the fact that "From 1996 to 2005, there were 481 cases alleging family responsibilities discrimination filed in U.S. courts, up from 97 brought during the previous decade" (Sachdev, 2006).This was caused by the fact that many employees were facing discrimination on their work places. Many employees have families that they care for. From the Lockwood's case we get to learn that at times this is sufficient reason for discrimination among some employers such as Professional Neurological Services Ltd. This has made the courts when dealing with employee-employer disputes to consider the employees' family and the consequence the decisions they make will have on this families. The courts ensure that in such cases the employees are well compensated as a lesson to other employers.
There are a number of actions that an employer has to take in order to ensure that family responsibilities discrimination doesn't take place at the work place. This is so especially on issues such as a fair work place and the promotion process. The employer should make sure that in the work place there is equality. This can be done by making rules and polices guiding the way employees should interact and also State penalties for failing to comply. He also needs to avoid holding company meetings in places that make any of the employees uncomfortable. He should ensure that employees are able to take time off voluntarily but not forced. He should also create a method for getting complains and suggestions through suggestions boxes or monthly meetings to address any discrimination. As for the promotion process the employer should promote justly. The promotion should be centered on merit but not on age or any other factors. He should give tests to the prospective candidates that are directly related to their jobs performances. The employer should also encourage the employees to further their studies in order to be eligible for future promotions. (Acevedo, 2010)
A good example of such an employer is Umpqua Bank which is a financial institution. Which promotes, career advancement for the employees by providing courses that help sharpen their skills and knowledge. This bank also allows the associates to meet at the town hall and voice their opinions and share ideas thereby keeping the lines of communication open.
As the society keeps changing it gets better and better. Over time the laws protecting employees have been developed and amended in order to prevent any form of discrimination from their employers. Consequently employers have improved the working terms and conditions for their employees Making them more comfortable and flexible. Employees with families are given equal treatment to employers without families. Even courts make their decisions with families in mind. Ensuring every individual enjoys humane working conditions.
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