1. Define sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and sexual orientation discrimination as those terms are used legally Be sure to note the differences between these types of discrimination in your answer.
Sexual harassment is a blanket issue with numerous definitions. The basic definition of sexual harassment is making obscene remarks or making unwanted sexual advances to female employees at the work place. Recently, the definition has been expanded to include soliciting for sexual favors from women as well as men at the work place as well as making offensive gestures that are considered sexual in nature. Sexual harassment can happen to both men and women.
Gender discrimination also called sexism is an unfair treatment of an individual. In this case it is based on the gender, to which an employee belongs. Gender discrimination often originates from certain social and traditional stereotypes against a particular gender. Women are often the target of gender discrimination since certain stereotypes regard females to have less ability compared to their male counterparts.
Sexual orientation discrimination refers to the biased treatment of an individual basing on his or her sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians are often the target of discrimination at the work place since other employees tend to treat them differently based on their sexual orientation.
2. Provide the legal definition of “quid pro quo” (also known as “vicarious liability”) sexual harassment. Provide one example of a behavior which could be found to be quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Quid pro quo is the most commonly recognized form of sexual harassment at the workplace. It involves the rewarding of an employee by employers or supervisors with a salary increase, promotion, or job favor for sexual favors. Quid pro quo also involves the dismissal or unfair treatment of an employee who decline to offer sexual favors. Supervising authorities of any organization are often accused of quid pro quo sexual harassment in case a supervisor asks for sexual favors from an employee for exchange of job benefits including exemption of duty and promotion. It also occurs when an employee is dismissed on ground that he or she failed to heed sexual demands from an employer or supervisor.
3. Provide the legal definition of hostile environment sexual harassment. Provide one example of a behavior which could be found to be hostile environment sexual harassment.
In the employment laws, hostile environment sexual harassment refers to the situation, in which an employee is harassed sexually by fellow employees through gestures, ridicule or inappropriate touching so that the environment surrounding the victim’s work space is hostile to the extent of interfering with his or her work productivity. Unlike quid pro quo sexual harassment, which involves supervisors, hostile environment sexual harassment is inflicted by fellow employees. This occurs when employers do not take appropriate measures to prevent other employees from sexually harassing their colleagues. The activity becomes continuous to the extent of providing a hostile environment for the victim’s work.
4. In sexual harassment law, explain what situations are considered “severe or pervasive” and explain why these terms are important.
The words ‘severe or pervasive’ are used in scaling of sexual harassment as to whether it has the potential of creating a hostile working environment. These terms are used as a standard to evaluate sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is often evaluated on this basis based on the circumstances surrounding a sexual harassment case. The evaluation helps determine the seriousness of the case and influences the verdict of judges in such cases.
5. Give the main legal reason why every company should have a valid written policy against sexual harassment (besides the fact it is the “right” thing to do.)
Each company needs to have a written policy on employment discrimination since it is enshrined in the constitution and legally recognized under labor laws.
6. Is it illegal for someone to harass or discriminate against someone of their own sex? Explain your answer.
It is illegal for someone to harass and discriminate members of their own sex. Despite much attention being paid on the discrimination and harassment based on the opposite genders, there exist discrimination and harassment within the same gender. The law defines harassment as an inappropriate touching of a person’s body or unwelcome sexual gestures. If one is found to have touched the colleague inappropriately, it will be considered sexual harassment under law.
7. Can an employer require that only females serve female customers and only males serve male customers? Explain your answer.
An employer cannot decide to allow males serve male customers while females serve only female customers. This is regarded as a form of gender discrimination. This is because one may be denied services in the event that only an employee of a particular gender is available at a particular time. This will lead to a situation, in which a customer will be denied services simply because he or she does not belong to a gender similar to the employee.
8. Which federal laws cover sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace?
Federal laws have been set up to curb sexual discrimination, especially at the work place. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) seeks to prevent discrimination in hiring and firing with regards to the race, religion and sex. This law protects people of diverse sexual orientations from discrimination based on their orientation. For instance, homosexual employees are protected from harassment and discrimination at their work place. This bill also covers other forms of sexual orientations like lesbians and bisexual individuals. The above-named groups are protected from being treated unfairly due to the fact that they belong to the sexual orientation different from the majority of employees.
In the Burlington Industries, Inc. v Ellerth case of 1998, Kimberly Ellerth, the respondent, was a female employee hired by the Burlington Company. Kimberly Ellerth quit her job at the company having served a year and 3 months as a sales person. She complained of having quit due to the numerous sexual harassment scenarios she experienced from one of Burlington industries’ supervisors. Ted Slowik, the accused, was a manager at the mid-level of the company empowered to hire, conduct appraisals for employees and promote them. Ted Slowik is accused of having made numerous advances towards Kimberly Ellerth with threats that she would not get promoted or job favors in case she did not cooperate. She claims to have ignored all the threats and did not heed to Ted Slowik’s demands. Ted Slowik, a mid-level manager at the agency, however, did not carry out his threats and even went ahead and promoted her. She however failed to report the case to any of the company authorities. Kimberly Ellerth later resigned.
In the case, the advances of Ted Slowik were dismissed as a possible case of quid pro quo sexual harassment since Ted was not considered a member of the policy-making authorities in the company. The court deliberated on the issue as to whether Ted Slowik was guilty of sexual harassment despite the fact that he did not carry out the threats he had promised.
However, the company was found to have failed to provide a suitable working environment for the employee and the court queried a case of vicarious liability by the company. The company was put to question over its ability to ensure safety of its female employees. There was not enough evidence to point the case towards quad pro quo sexual harassment since Ted Slowik was a mid-level manager and despite making threats he did not carry them out. The conclusion of the judges was that Kimberly Ellerth needed to provide more proof to show that this was a case of quad pro quo since there were no tangible employment actions she suffered under Ted Slowik.
I would agree with the court’s verdict. This is because despite Ted Slowik’s issuing threats towards Kimberly Ellerth, he did not carry out any of the threats. This therefore fails to be a case of quad pro quo sexual harassment and introduces an interesting twist in the case. Kimberly Ellerth therefore needs to produce enough reasons to claim a case of vicarious liability against the company.
1. What is the name of the bill? What is the resolution number of the bill (e.g., HR 212)?
Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, resolution number S.1391.
2. Does the bill you selected create a new law or amend an existing law?
This is the amendment bill.
3. If this bill is passed, how will it change current employment law? Be specific here and include enough detail so that someone reading your answer really understanding the bill under consideration.
Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act touches on the discrimination of employees based on their age. This one amends the act of 1967. It states that it would be illegal to fail to hire an individual based on the age despite there being other major contributing factors apart from an individual’s age. This amendment empowers the plaintiff to use any admissible form of evidence in court to show that age was an associated factor in the complaints regarding employment. The bill clarifies that the plaintiff does not need to clearly show that age was the only factor that led to the unlawful practice against them. This amendment bill rubbishes previous laws that stated that one needed to prove that age was the sole purpose for their predicament. Initially a person complaining of having been discriminated on the basis of age had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the main reason for the complaint was strongly tied to the age factor. This bill gives the court the authority to consider a case, in which age is a motivating factor that adds up to other issues leading to the complaints of the accused.
4. Do you believe that this bill will pass Congress? Why or why not?
The bill under consideration by Congress will most likely fail to become the law. This is based on the fact that the bill is vague and does not clearly define its mandate. For the ideal bill to become the law, it ought to clearly define its limits. The bill seems to provide anyone with an employment discrimination issue to use age as the factor contributing to their employment issue.
5. State whether you agree or disagree with the bill. If you were a member of Congress would you vote for it? Explain why.
I would strongly disagree with the bill due to its vague nature. The bill fails to provide exact limits. This will definitely make any case valid before the court since age can be used as a claim when one realizes that he or she has no facts and evidence to support the case. The act allows the plaintiff to claim that age was a contributory factor even if it was not a direct cause. Moreover, the bill seeks to protect only the elderly and older individuals who are a minority in the employment sector.