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Top 5 articles of 2018!

We are fortunate to see an increase in visits to our website in 2018 with lots of help from our active volunteers! Now we present the top 5 articles visitors read on our website in 2018.

5. How to deal with religious accommodations in the Workplace

Freedom of religion, in Canada, is a constitutionally protected right that allows religious believers the freedom to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. Religious discrimination is treating individuals differently in their employment because of their religion, their religious beliefs and practices, denying their reasonable request for accommodation or a change in a workplace rule or policy that denies employees equal opportunities due to their religious beliefs or practices. Canadian employers are required to accommodate the reasonable needs of religious employees in the workplace.

4. Women in the Workplace: The Hidden Battle

Throughout our history, women have adopted new roles from working as a housewife to entering the workplace and providing for their family or oneself. As women entered the workplace, we saw issues of sexual harassment, unequal pay and opportunity starting to emerge. These issues are still seen and frequently voiced today as women are continuously taking a stand for their rights. Unfortunately, there are many issues that go unnoticed that need to be addressed. Every day women have to prove that they are just as good or better than their counterparts and when they fail to do so they are labeled as weak, incompetent or just plain lazy.

3. Lack of Diversity in the Workplace Can Cause Stress Among Employees

The success of an organization in today’s competitive world depends upon how well it embraces the challenges of diversity and realizes its benefits. Employees from different backgrounds, ages and ethnicities bring their own set of experiences and world views, and are better able to provide a wider range of solutions to developing problems. Most of all, a lack of diversity has been linked to increased discrimination which in turn leads to elevated stress levels among employees. The National Center for Biotechnology Information note that discrimination due to immigrant status, legal status, skin tone or language can contribute to increased stress in individuals.

2. The Pros and Cons of Hiring Older Employees vs. Younger Employees

Ever thought you would one day be in a position where you would have the decision on your hands to make or break someone’s career? Well if you are, here is something that you might come across depending on the nature of your job. This article aims to analyze some of the main factors to consider while picking the right person for the job. At the very outset, I must make it clear that I am referring to older as in more experienced professionals and not just being ageist.

1. Workplace Issues and Solutions

There are a variety of workplace issues that both employers and employees encounter. Some of these issues are minor while other workplace issues are more significant and require frequent attention from employees for the workplace to function properly. While it is the responsibility of management to take steps to develop strategies to combat workplace issues, employees also have a responsibility to speak up when they recognize issues that contribute to or may eventually lead to problems.

This article was mostly contributed to and edited by J2DW volunteers!

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Founder's Blog

The Heart of Election Day

The Heart of Election Day

Working for Elections Ontario

In Ontario we recently participated in the exercise of democracy by casting ballots for members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. From there, the leader of the party with the most members becomes Premier of Ontario. Thus, democracy functions once more.

It was rather late in the election period, about two weeks before election day, when I decided I wanted a one-day job, which was on election day, working for Elections Ontario.

On June 7th, 2018 Elections Ontario was Ontario’s largest employer.

Elections Ontario is an independent agency of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. However, the agency does have to follow all applicable laws with regards to employment and, in particular, in accessibility.

When I first called and spoke with the recruiter, she was excited. It was probably because she had one less person to find. Admittedly, Elections Ontario did a fantastic job advertising its open jobs for election day.

So, this recruiter and I talked for some time. It looked as if I was going to be a Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) in Oro-Medonte. This was driven by the fact that I both have a valid drivers license and a vehicle I can drive to the location.

However, when I revealed to the recruiter (whom I will not name,) that I was unable to help set up the polling location I would be working at the night before, due to medical requirements of a disability, the role of DRO was taken off the table.

No one mentioned to me about Elections Ontario’s “Workplace Accommodation Policy and Procedures” brochure, nor that there was a form (FO273) that I could file to ask for help. Does one expect the applicant to leap through all those hoops?

I do not know the training this recruiter had, but I imagine that it was similar to the training for my downgraded role as Information Assistant. (Jokingly referred to as Greeter.) So she must have read the brochure (FO277). It was mandatory.

Elections Ontario policy is to accommodate applicants and employees with disabilities who need workplace accommodations.

On June 7th, I arrived bright and early at my polling station, ready for the next 13 hours. The actual voting hours are 9 am – 9 pm. However, we had to be there an hour before for any final setup items. We also could not leave the premises at all during those times. Bathrooms were on site.

While I am frustrated that I did not get to carry out the DRO role, originally offered, I had a great day. I got to greet voters, help them with the process, and send them merrily on their way afterwards.
Poll Official - Elections Ontario

Since employment is short-term, individual accommodation plans will not be reviewed after the election is over.

I firmly believe that Elections Ontario has gone to great lengths to accommodate voters exercising their democratic right to vote. However, I do not believe that Elections Ontario has gone far enough to accommodate their very short term, one day employees, who just want to help out to ensure democracy prevails.

I think if I could talk directly to Greg Essensa, Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer, then I would make the following recommendations:

  • Make the brochure on Workplace Accommodation Policy and Procedures available online. (FO277) (In doing my research for this article I could not find this brochure on the Elections Ontario or the Ontario Government websites.)
  • Make the requisite forms available online. (FO273)
  • Train your Recruitment Team to make mention of the brochure (FO277) one of the first things they talk about, just like the greeters ask for accessibility assistance when they greet voters at the door.
  • Ensure all polling stations have facilities for storing medications needed during the day both in regular temperatures and those requiring refrigeration.
  • Make a plan for DRO’s that cannot set up the night before.
  • Internally review individual accommodation plans post-election to spot opportunities for improvement.
  • In the end, we all want democracy to prevail! So, let us give democracy a hand and accommodate those one-day employees.

    This article was written by J2DW CEO Peter V Tretter and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.

    Categories
    Voices of our Nation

    The Pros and Cons of Hiring Older Employees vs. Younger Employees

    Ever thought you would one day be in a position where you would have the decision on your hands to make or break someone’s career? Well if you are, here is something that you might come across depending on the nature of your job. This article aims to analyze some of the main factors to consider while picking the right person for the job. At the very outset, I must make it clear that I am referring to older as in more experienced professionals and not just being ageist.

    What are the things one could consider? We have tried to lay down factors that could influence one’s decision below in a concise format. Hope it helps you come to a conclusion about your Sophie’s choice.

    I have tried to first evaluate the pros of hiring older employees as opposed to younger employees before proceeding to the cons.

    1) Experience – for certain jobs, job experience is a huge factor. Experienced employees bridge the gap from teaching from scratch to jumping right into the thick of things.

    2) Less supervision – they definitely do not need as much supervision as a just out of college hire.

    3) Fewer chances of mistakes – they have made their mistakes and hopefully learned from them.

    4) Takes lead – having probably worked at other places before, they feel confident enough to take charge and lead the team.

    5) Mentorship – older employees are able (and willing) to mentor younger, less-experienced employees.

    6) Clients – older employees might just have a list of contacts and networking that will be useful in the growth of the firm.

    7) Patience – apart from the odd temper tantrum, they display more patience to teach and to communicate with the team.

    8) Loyalty – it comes with the package.

    9) Punctuality – this is one of those old tradition school things but punctuality is common and important to their generation.

    The pros of hiring younger employees as opposed to older employees can be listed as follows:

    1) Adept at technology – younger employees have grown up in the lap of technology and are therefore much more proficient at it than the older generation.

    2) More risk-taking – they just might be more open to the idea of risks (this might not necessarily go down well for the company but they at least had the courage to take that chance. Older employees are more cautious and less open to something and who knows, the risks might pay off).

    3) Dynamic – I do know of 60-year-old CEO’s who have been nothing but dynamic all their lives and that is why they are at the top. But younger blood with more ideas, fresh out of college and enthusiastic might be just what is needed to revitalize the company.

    4) Flexibility – older employees tend to have their own set of ideas and notions and cannot adapt easily to the changing mindset. Younger employees generally have a flexible attitude because they are more adept at changing (it’s a millennial thing maybe) and can pick up on such changes sooner (without grumbling).

    5) Expectation of Salary – the older employees come with some experience and want to be compensated for the fact that their previous skill has saved some training of the employers and therefore they must be compensated for the same. Younger employees are more than happy that they are being paid as the job is a place where they start off and learn (they know that their salary is not going to be through the roof).

    6) Physical attribute – though it sounds ageist, it is true that older employees do face certain physical drawbacks as compared to younger employees and the strenuous work can take a toll on their health.

    Several more pros and cons could be listed. However, the important take away from this article is that at the end of the day, the circumstance, the company and the post being recruited for is what will ultimately decide as to who stays and who does not.

    This article was written by volunteer blogger Riya Prem Raaj and edited by volunteer editor Shan Simpson.

    Categories
    Library

    The Gender Wage Gap Explained

    Many famous individuals have used the quote “Women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes”, and although this fact is statistically true, there is a lot that is unexplained in it. The above fact only compares the two median wages of men and women and does not factor into account how the wage gap plays out in individuals with different education levels, different occupations or different ages. These factors are very important to take into account if we want to ever close the gender wage gap.

    To explain much of the argument on the gender wage gap, I must first state that economists have modeled wages through the Mincer Wage Equation, which can be stated as:

    The equation above can be interpreted as log wages is a function of the years of schooling, plus the amount of career experience, and career experience squared, and an error term and a constant term for other unaccounted for factors. In simpler words, employers reward employees for the amount of schooling and experience they hold.

    Child-bearing responsibilities

    June O’Neill wrote a paper in 2003 studying the gender wage gap in the US economy by looking at two population surveys. In his conclusion, he writes, “As I have shown in this paper, the unadjusted gender gap can be explained to a large extent by nondiscriminatory factors. Those factors are unlikely to change radically in the near future unless the roles of women and men in the home become more nearly identical.”

    What June O’Neill meant to convey in her conclusive remarks is that much of the gender wage gap can be attributed to the fact that females are the only sex that is biologically able to produce offspring. It is not a discriminatory attribute that women have the ability to give birth, and this ability has continuously led to the difference in the amount men and women earn.

    What usually tends to happen after college graduation in today’s labour market is after holding a stable job for a few years, when women are in their mid-twenties and thirties, they usually take some time off to give birth and nurture the child after birth. In a study conducted by Bertrand, Goldin and Katz to examine the gender wage gap in MBA graduates, they state that one of the principal reasons why there exists a big gender wage gap between men and women is that in the first fifteen years post-graduation, women take on more career interruptions and work shorter weeks because of household responsibilities. The study also finds that even though some women took modest breaks from work for parental leave, the labour market penalized these breaks greatly. The discontinuity in a professional career during this age is also the prime time to build one’s career.

    Such discontinuity is penalized by a lower wage, and this is quite fair because the said individual took time off during a time where they could be obtaining prime experience in their careers. June O’Neill finds that 34% of women with children under the age of six were out of the work force between the ages of 25-44 compared to only 16% of women who were out of the workforce who did not have children. Making the choice to have a child is a quite strong indication of work discontinuity which will directly lead to a loss in experience gain and a lower wage.

    Career choice

    The science behind the labour market is centralized around human capital theory, where employees are rewarded with wages for their ability to demonstrate their knowledge and do so efficiently.

    Again, it is no secret that some careers are better paid in today’s world than others. This is a harsh reality in some underpaid occupations, but in other cases, it is quite justifiable. Rewarding an occupation like a surgeon to perform life-saving operations is very fair in my opinion.

    “The expectation of withdrawals from the labour force and the need to work fewer hours during the week are likely to influence the type of occupations that women train for and ultimately pursue” – O’Neill, 2003. This statement in his paper is given by examining the career choices that women have chosen and how they came to the decisions that they did through population surveys. Women tend to lean towards occupations where there is more leniency towards career discontinuity and careers where part-time worked is more readily available. A direct example of this is the nursing versus doctor industry, where most nurses are women. Nurses hold set shifts and know exact times when they will be working and so is more favourable to a mother who has to care for a child. As an emergency doctor that can be called in at any time during the day, your shifts can vary a lot and it would make life difficult to care for a child and be on-call at a hospital.

    Conclusion

    Much of the gender wage gap can be explained by the two factors that are outlined above. The fact that women take breaks during their working life to nurture children and build their households, and that women choose careers that are more flexible in the hours that employees are required to work, which is a result of the time off women need to take to have children.

    Although this explains a lot of the gender wage gap, there is evidence to support that some of the wage gap is purely discriminatory. But there is some good news to accompany this, Pew Research Centre conducted a study that found that “The gender gap in pay has narrowed since 1980, particularly among younger workers…” and so there is some hope that someday we will be able to eliminate the gender wage gap completely.

    References

    Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2017, April 03). The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/03/gender-pay-gap-facts/

    O’Neill, J. (2003). The Gender Gap in Wages. The American Economic Review, 93(2), 309-314. Retrieved August 7, 2017, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3132245

    Bertand, M., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. F. (2010). Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2, 228-255. Retrieved August 04, 2017, from http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.2.3.228

    This article was written by volunteer Mohammadali Saleh.

    Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Journey to Diversity Workplaces.

    Categories
    Voices of our Nation

    How to deal with religious accommodations in the Workplace

    Freedom of religion, in Canada, is a constitutionally protected right that allows religious believers the freedom to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. Religious discrimination is treating individuals differently in their employment because of their religion, their religious beliefs and practices, denying their reasonable request for accommodation or a change in a workplace rule or policy that denies employees equal opportunities due to their religious beliefs or practices. Canadian employers are required to accommodate the reasonable needs of religious employees in the workplace.

    A workplace accommodation is any change in the working environment that allows a person with limitations in their abilities to do their job. These can include changes to physical workspace, adaptations to the equipment or tools used, flexible work hours or job sharing, relocation of the workspace within the greater workplace, the ability to work from home, reallocation or exchange of some non-essential tasks for others, or time off for medical appointments. Accommodations can be temporary, or long term, depending on the employee’s disability or medical issue.

    In Canada, the limits to accommodation are described as either a “reasonable” accommodation or an accommodation to the point of “undue hardship.” In Ontario, under the Ontario Human Rights Code, three criteria are used to determine whether undue hardship exists which are cost, whether other sources of funding are available or health and safety requirements that may exist. Canadian employers are required to accommodate the Sabbath observance of their employees by permitting employees to take the day off unless doing so would create a hardship for their employers. Each Canadian province and territory has human rights legislation that covers religion protections.

    The Ontario Human Rights Code makes religious discrimination illegal. Everyone should have access to the same opportunities and benefits. Religion includes the practices, beliefs and observances that are part of a faith or religion. Religion does not include personal, moral, ethical or political views. Religion also does not include religions that promote violence or hate towards others, or that violate criminal law. Christianity is the largest religion representing approximately sixty seven percent of the population while Muslim is the second largest religion accounting for three percent of the Canadian population. However, approximately twenty four percent of the Canadian population have no religious affiliation. If employees are asked to do something that would violate their religious beliefs, practices or customs, they may be able to get an exemption from these requirements for religious reasons. People should be treated with equal dignity, and respect, regardless of their religion. Workplaces can improve employee satisfaction and productivity by helping employees feel like they can be themselves and not having to hide a part of themselves in the workplace.

    Harassment is a form of discrimination. Harrassment involves any unwanted physical or verbal behavior that offends or humiliates someone. Harassment is usually behavior that persists over time. However, serious one-time incidents can sometimes be considered as harassment. Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could ‘mentally’ hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behavior that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people.

    The cost of accommodations for individual employees can be a significant concern as some workplaces lack the resources to effectively meet the needs of their employees. A reasonable accommodation can vary from employer to employer which may not adequately address the needs of the individual employees. Accommodating an employee could cause the unintended consequence of sterotyping the employee which could increase incidence of bullying or harrassment. Accommodations for attending religious services increases absenteeism, which can lower workplace productivity, or cause more stress on the other employees. Employers may find it difficult to provide non-religious employees with equal benefits to religious employees when religious accommodations are considered for a specific individual, or group, of employees.

    Individuals with disabilities are entitled to be included in the workforce. Treating people equally does not always mean treating them the same. In some situations, equal treatment for employees with disabilities may require different treatment. It is important to remember that disabilities do not fit into a single category. While we all have an idea as to what constitutes a disability, these preconceived ideas are often quite limited. Employers have an obligation to accommodate workers who have a disability. This accommodation must be provided in a manner that respects the dignity of the person. There are no prescribed formulas for accommodations as every case is unique and should be pursued based upon the individual medical and employment realities. The interests of a workplace are best served by retaining people with injuries Retaining them means knowing how to plan and implement workplace accommodations. By effectively accommodating its employees a workplace cultivates a competent, effective, diverse and healthy workplace environment that can benefit everyone in the workplace.

    Sources: Benefits Canada
    Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
    Ontario Human Rights Commission
    Statistics Canada

    This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson

    Categories
    Voices of our Nation

    You would not believe what types of disabilities they have in the workplace!

    A disability can be defined as the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. A disability may be present from birth, or occur at any time during a person’s lifetime. A progressive disability is an illness or medical condition that is expected to worsen over time. Well known examples of progressive disabilities include multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Intermittent disabilities are short-term impairments or temporary conditions that do not permanently disable a person. Examples of intermittent disabilities include arthritis, chronic fatigue or depression. Any person can be directly or indirectly affected by an intermittent or progressive disability at some point in their life.

    Disabilities are a significant concern in Canada due to an aging Canadian population. Approximately 3.8 million Canadians have a disability. Disabilities are categorized as visible or invisible. A visual disability is an impaired condition or function that is noticeable to other people. Seventy percent of Ontarians have a visual disability including autism, down syndrome, and epilepsy. Invisible disabilities are impairments that are not immediately perceivable by other people. Thirty percent of Ontarians have an invisible disability. Examples of invisible disabilities include fatigue, pain, cognitive dysfunctions and mental disorders, as well as hearing and eyesight impairments.

    People with disabilities in Canada represent a large, untapped, labor pool. There are reportedly 443,900 people with disabilities who are ready and able to work but are unable to find employment. Almost half of these individuals have a post-secondary education. In order to have a fully inclusive workplace, a work environment must be created that is physically, technologically, and attitudinally accessible. Ontario was the first Canadian province to implement accessibility legislation. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act, or AODA, was designed to improve the accessibility standards for Ontarians with disabilities. The goal of this legislation is to provide people of all abilities the opportunity to participate in everyday life and to eliminate the barriers that limit the effectiveness of an employee. These barriers include physical, architectural, informational or communicational, and attitudinal barriers.

    Physical barriers are feature of a building or premises which puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people when accessing employment opportunities. These barriers limit or impede access to an area of a building or denies access altogether to services that a person may require to effectively complete their job. Architectural barriers are architectural features that are not compliant with accessibility for disabled users or prohibits usage or access to a building. Reasonable accommodations or adjustments should be made to eliminate these barriers so that each employee can maximize their potential and workplace’s goals for success can be achieved.

    Communication barriers are obstacles in a workplace that prevent an effective exchange of ideas or thoughts. These barriers to communication can substantially distort or prevent communication within a workplace. The ability for workplaces to recognize the communication issues and come to a resolution can drastically improve working conditions and business culture of a workplace. Status differences can also be a barrier to workplace communication. This type of communication barrier exists due to differences in workplace hierarchy where employees have difficulty communicating either up or down the corporate ladder. This difficulty can be eliminated by management personnel who are able to understand their employees and address concerns about the important issues that must be addressed in the workplace.

    Attitudinal barriers are behaviors or perceptions that prevent employees from communicating properly. Attitudes are commonly formed by an individual’s opinions or personal feelings on a subject or person. Sometimes these opinions may be difficult to alter. Attitudinal barriers may take the form of imposing a preconceived inferiority upon a disabled worker. This inferiority can root from causes entirely outside the work environment and be attributed to a person’s bias or bigotry. Attitudinal barriers can lead to people with disabilities being patronized by those around them. Employees with disabilities should be hired based on their ability to do the job. There are no special processes or procedures for disciplining or firing employees with disabilities who are not meeting performance expectations. An effective way to decrease a workplace’s attitudinal barriers is to increase the level of awareness and knowledge of disability issues.

    Employers should be proactive and make accessibility part of the workplace culture. It is critical to assure that the workplace is accessible for current employees and for future employees. The workplace can become more successful when strategies are implemented that increase the accessibility and eliminate the barriers within a workplace.

    This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Parul Datta.

    Image source: http://commons.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PET_Alzheimer.jpg

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    Categories
    Library

    Sexual Harassment Interventions

    Sexual harassment affects people of all ages and races and of both sexes. Although it has been outlawed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibited under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, many companies and schools have yet to develop adequate policies and procedures for addressing sexual harassment. Evidence of this is apparent in the increased number of grievances filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): from 10,532 filings in 1993 to 15,889 in 1997 (Ganzel 1998). The Supreme Court rulings in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton and Burlington Industries v. Ellerth are an attempt to halt these incidents by requiring harassed employees to work within their companies to resolve grievances before turning to the EEOC. They place responsibility on the employer to set guidelines for preventing sexual harassment and on the employee to follow them (Barrier 1998).

    This Digest examines the implications of federal laws covering sexual harassment, the characteristics of company policies and grievance procedures to prevent and report sexual harassment, and program strategies for preventing sexual harassment in schools and workplaces.

    What Institutions Can Do

    The Supreme Court’s recent rulings are motivating employers to take actions that reflect their compliance with federal laws as protection against sexual harassment litigation. Emerging from the literature on sexual harassment prevention are three key steps that employers can take to counter sexual harassment (Kimble-Ellis 1998; “Protecting Employees” 1998):

    1. Develop a strong company policy that specifies in writing outlawed behaviors and penalties for their demonstration

    2. Establish grievance procedures for reporting, processing, and resolving complaints

    3. Provide sexual harassment training for supervisors, managers, and workers that explains what sexual harassment means and how it can be recognized, confronted, and averted.

    Strong Company Policy

    Although a number of large companies have already established policies governing sexual harassment, effective compliance with the Supreme Court’s rulings on sexual harassment requires that all companies, as well as schools that receive federal funds, establish sexual harassment policies that they put in writing, disseminate, and enforce (Barrier 1998). A company policy addressing sexual harassment must clearly specify (1) the behaviors that constitute harassment and the company’s intolerance of such behaviors; (2) channels employees must follow to report sexual harassment complaints to their supervisors or designated company representative; (3) strategies the company will follow in investigating and resolving a complaint, including confidentiality practices; (4) warnings that violation of the policy will result in punishments that could include dismissal; and (5) assurance that retaliation will not be allowed (Ganzel 1998).

    Good policy statements reflect collaboration among executives, supervisors, and employees and among administrators, teachers, and students. They respond to the organizational climate, which includes family and community as well as school influences. Because “sexual harassment is a manifestation of deeply held beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and cultural norms . . , it is predicated on sociocultural views and sex-role stereotypes” (Brandenburg 1997, p. 39). It reflects the abuse of power, a gender-power differential, and sometimes power-related retaliation. Some authors add sexual orientation power struggles to that list (ibid.).

    In an address to educators at a conference organized by the Safe School Coalition, Marjorie Fink, a national sexual harassment prevention trainer, identified climate as a major component to guide prevention efforts (“Trainer: Stop Bullying” 1999). Every school, like every business, has its unique climate. In some organizations, verbal teasing, dirty jokes, and sexual pictures may be the dominant behavior that reflects sexual harassment; in others, improper touching, stalking, or shoving may be the misbehavior (ibid.). When all members of a work organization or school become involved in establishing policy, these contextual issues can be more effectively addressed and behaviors targeted.

    Grievance Procedures

    Although companies are required by law to handle grievances internally before seeking outside litigation, schools are also finding internal grievances procedures to be more effective in handling sexual harassment complaints. “Internal grievance procedures may save time, minimize emotional and financial expense, and be more sensitive to all persons” (Brandenburg 1997, p. 53).

    Effective grievance procedures should clearly define the steps for submitting complaints, both informally and formally. Procedures for informal complaints should detail how the harassed person should go about seeking advice or counsel about a proper response to the offending behavior and describe the process of mediation, negotiation, and problem solving that may be used to resolve the issue. Procedures for formal complaints should require that the grievance be submitted in writing and present all facts related to the incident-who, what, where, when, the scope of the incident, and names of individuals involved. Typically, these reports must be submitted immediately after the incident, not weeks later. However, it is the responsibility of each company and school to specify the procedures it wants its employees or students to follow.

    Grievance procedures should also identify the person or persons to whom grievances must be submitted. In the grievance officer model, all complaints are processed through a designated supervisor or officer; in the grievance board or committee model, grievances are submitted to a group (Brandenburg 1997). Although the grievance officer model offers the advantage of one entry point for complaint submission, it has the disadvantage of possibly requiring the harassed employee to deal with someone with whom he or she may be uncomfortable. The committee model, which places the problem in the hands of many, has the disadvantage of requiring greater communication and coordination between committee members and the harassed employee, making it more difficult to ensure confidentiality (ibid.).

    Whatever process is adopted, the procedures the grievance officer/committee will follow must also be identified, e.g., receive the written complaint, identify the specific harassment, interview complainants, interview the accused, interview witnesses, determine if sexual harassment has occurred, present the findings to both parties along with the consequences of the action, and require employees to accept mandatory arbitration (“Protecting Employees” 1998).

    Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

    No policy or set of grievance procedures will be effective unless all employees, from supervisors to line workers, administrators to custodial staff, are knowledgeable about the company’s policy and grievance procedures. To prevent vulnerability to sexual harassment allegations, an organization must provide access to training for all employees and document their participation in and completion of the training program. Employees need to be aware that, although the recent Supreme Court’s rulings held companies liable for harassment by supervisors even when management was unaware of the incidents, they made it clear that companies cannot be held liable for incidents in which an harassed employee did not follow the company’s reporting procedures or did not participate in company-sponsored sexual harassment prevention training (“Protecting Employees” 1998).

    Sexual harassment training should explain the law that prohibits sexual harassment, identify the actions that may be categorized as sexual harassment, describe the company’s policy and its grievance procedures. However, the training should also heighten awareness of sexual harassment and present strategies for intervention.

    Effective programs define sexual harassment and provide information on its incidence. Sexual harassment should be defined as “unwanted sexual attention that would be offensive to a reasonable person and that negatively affects the work or school environment” (Brandenburg 1997, p. 1). The key word in the definition is “unwanted.” Two categories of sexual harassment may be given to guide thinking during the training program: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment.

    Quid pro quo harassment occurs “when submission to or rejection of such (unwelcome sexual) conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual” (ibid., p. 2). Hostile environment harassment, on the other hand, occurs “when unwelcome sexual conduct causes the environment to become hostile, intimidating, or offensive, and unreasonably interferes with an employee’s or student’s work” (ibid., p. 3). Training programs should ensure that participants understand these definitions so that they can construct their own meanings of sexual harassment as they discuss the experiences of others.

    Effective programs reflect good teaching and learning practices. They are descriptive, intensive, relevant, and positive (Berkowitz 1998):

    They require the involvement of all members of a company or school and include family and community members who have an influence on the employees’ or students’ life.

    They offer participatory, problem-based learning experiences that are interactive and actively engage the student in learning.

    They are tailored to the “age, community culture, and socioeconomic status of the trainee and are contextualized to the individual’s peer group experiences” (ibid., p. 3).

    They present information from a positive viewpoint, encouraging healthy behavior rather than forbidding poor behavior.

    Effective programs teach intervention skills. Berkowitz (1998) identifies the following steps for converting bystander behavior to intervention (pp. 3-4):

    Help learners to recognize sexual harassment incidents by providing them with appropriate and relevant definitions and examples of sexual harassment.

    Help learners to interpret which behaviors signify harassment.

    Encourage participants to share their experiences and their intolerance for certain behaviors as a means of illustrating their common ground.

    Encourage participants to feel responsible for dealing with the problem.

    Teach intervention skills and provide opportunities to practice them. Use role play scenarios to help participants find comfortable and appropriate ways to express their discomfort with another’s behavior.

    Help participants be free of retaliation. Explore participants’ fears about retaliation and provide examples of how interventions will be supported.

    Conclusion

    Sexual harassment training programs for a business or school organization’s supervisors and employees can be internally or externally provided. Some companies are making training available online. Corpedia Training Technologies in Phoenix, or example, has an Internet-linked CD-ROM-based sexual harassment program to help employees and their supervisors recognize and take steps to prevent sexual harassment (“Sexual Harassment Training Online” 1999).

    Although the sources of training may vary across organizations, each program should result in the achievement of designated learning outcomes. Case studies, scenarios, and ill-structured problems offer ways to connect knowledge about sexual harassment to its prevention in the workplace. The ultimate success of a company’s or school’s sexual harassment prevention training program will be reflected in the organization’s ability to eliminate the behavior and avoid sexual harassment lawsuits.

    References

    Barrier, M. (1998) Sexual Harassment. Nation’s Business 86(12), 14-19.

    Berkowitz, A. (1998) How We Can Prevent Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault. Educator’s Guide to Controlling Sexual Harassment 6(1), 1-4.

    Brandenburg, J. (1997) Confronting Sexual Harassment. New York: Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

    Ganzel, R. (1998) What Sexual-Harassment Training Really Prevents. Training 35(10), 86-94.

    Kimble-Ellis, S. (1998) Safeguard against Sexual Harassment. Black Enterprise 29(5), 36.

    Protecting Employees-and Your Business. (1998) Nation’s Business 86(12), 18-19.

    Sexual Harassment Training Online. (1999) Best’s Review 99(9), 82.

    Trainer: Stop Bullying and Teasing in K-6 to Prevent Sexual Harassment Now, Later. (1999) Educator’s Guide to Controlling Sexual Harassment 6(4), 1, 3.

    This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education under Contract No. ED-99-CO-0013. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Digests may be freely reproduced and are available at <http://ericacve.org/fulltext.asp>.

    This paper came from:

    123HelpMe.com (2016) Sexual Harassment Interventions. 123HelpMe.com Retrieved from http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=35825.

    Categories
    Library

    Workplace Discrimination

    In an ideal world, people would be equal in rights, opportunities, and responsibilities, despite their race or gender. In the world we live in, however, we constantly face all kinds of neglect based on different attributes. All over the world, certain people treat others with prejudice because of particular features they possess. Unfortunately, this happens even in places which, by definition, should be free of all personal prejudices – specifically, in offices and other business surroundings. This phenomenon is called workplace discrimination; not every unfair behavior at work, however, can be assessed as discrimination. Workplace Discrimination

    What exactly is workplace discrimination? It can be defined as a less favorable treatment towards an individual or a group of individuals at work, usually based on their nationality, skin color, sex, marital status, age, trade union activity, or other defining attributes (Australian Human Rights Commission). It can appear as a denial of certain rights, negligent treatment, intentional underestimating of a worker’s personality or work results and achievements, and so on. A person can be discriminated by their employers, or by their coworkers as well. Discrimination can result into severe psychological consequences for the victim, such as emotional stress and anxiety. Discrimination often causes an employee to leave the workplace, resign from a position, or in severe cases, to commit suicide or act violently against the discriminators.

    Workplace discrimination can take more open and threatening forms, which are known as workplace harassment. It occurs when an employee is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated, based on such features as race, ethnic origin, gender, physical or mental disability, or on any other characteristic specified under legislation (AHRC). The two most radical forms of workplace harassment are the application of physical violence, or sexual harassment; women are especially exposed to this kind of discrimination. Workplace violence can take several forms: the direct exercise of physical force against a worker which causes or could cause injuries to the worker; an attempt to exercise such physical force; or a statement or behavior which a worker can reasonably interpret as a threat to exercise physical force (Ontario Ministry of Labor). Sexual harassment can take the form of obscene jokes and allusions; intrusive body contacts; inappropriate gestures, or even direct actions aimed at sexual contact.

    There are several ways to deal with workplace discrimination; such measures can be held both on the individual and on the collective level. Individuals who have experienced discrimination or harassment at work, are recommended to stand firm under verbal attacks, remain confident about their own abilities and judgments, and try not to stay alone with the abusive person (UnionSafe). At the same time, collective measures can be taken as well. They usually include calling for a meeting in a quiet confidential place in order to admit and discuss the problem; complaining to competent authorities; developing respective policies together with sanctions applied in case there is an infringement enacted by workers.

    Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and not all people can enjoy equal opportunities and rights. This refers not only to our personal lives, but to our working environment as well; employees can be discriminated and abused because of certain features they possess, such as the color of skin, their ethnicity or gender, age, marital status, disabilities, and so on. To eliminate workplace discrimination, both individual and collective preventive measures should be made.

    References

    What Is Workplace Discrimination and Harassment? (2013) Australian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved from http://www.humanrights.gov.au/what-workplace-discrimination-and-harassment

    Preventing Workplace Violence And Workplace Harassment. (2011) Ontario Ministry of Labor.(sic) Retrieved from http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/pubs/fs_workplaceviolence.php

    Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace. (2013) UnionSafe. Retrieved from http://unionsafe.labor.net.au/hazards/10717236108849.html

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    Workplace Discrimination (2013) Academic Help Retrieved from https://academichelp.net/samples/academics/essays/definition/workplace-discrimination.html#sthash.byNueAtv.dpuf