Sunday, December 16, 2012
Selection Quandaries Terminology
Yvonne brought my attention to the fact that as students, professionals, speakers, and/or writers, we have a tendency to use terms that we think everyone understands. Since we would prefer to read a blog without having to open twenty tabs to understand what is being said, and causing our browsers to catastrophically fail, we thought that defining some of the terminology from the previous post would be helpful. This also provides me with the opportunity to practice applying these terms before completing course projects and final exams. Having said this, I have provided links to these definitions for those of you who wish to make your own interpretations.
“Business necessity” can be defined as a discriminatory job requirement or employment practice that is necessary to ensure that an essential task or duty for a specific job can be performed safely and successfully. For example, a candidate who was recently convicted of child molestation can be legally disqualified for a cashiering position at a toy store since the individual’s essential duty of assisting customers requires her/him to come into contact with children. On the other hand, if the same candidate applies for a position as an office cleaner for an accounting firm, s/he cannot be legally disqualified as a result of the conviction because her/his essential duties do not require contact with children.
"Essential duties" are duties/tasks that are critical to an individual's success in performing her/his job. Using the candidate who was recently convicted of child molestation as an example, the candidate will need to serve customers who bring their children to the toy store. Contact with children in this situation is unavoidable because serving customers with children is an essential part of a toy store cashier's job.
“Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ)” is an employment qualification that employers may consider when making employment decisions. The employer must demonstrate that excluded individuals could not perform the job duties required and that those job duties are essential to the employer’s business; however, it is important to note that race and color are excluded from this defense. For instance, a gym can disqualify male candidates for a female locker room attendant position if the attendant's presence is in the locker room is required at all times.
“Legally problematic” means that a practice is not illegal; however, the practice could lead to illegal practices, or the practice could be perceived as illegal. For instance, asking questions that could identify an applicant’s gender is legally problematic because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that it is illegal to consider a person’s gender in the employment decision, unless it is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). In this situation, this practice could lead to intentional or unintentional bias in the employment decision, or the organization could be perceived as showing bias in the employment decision.
“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)” is a U.S. law that prohibits workplace discrimination and harassment based on national origin, race, gender, color, genetic information, and religion. Title VII also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce the laws in the Act. The law has been expanded to include discrimination or harassment based upon pregnancy, sexual harassment of employees, and stereotyping based on national origin, race, gender, color, and religion. However, some employers are exempt from Title VII laws as indicated under the “Definitions” section.
“Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC )” is a regulatory committee charged with enforcing U.S. laws that prohibit workplace discrimination and harassment based on genetic information, national origin, race, gender, color, age, disability, and religion; furthermore, the EEOC provides guidance to federal agencies and ensures that U.S. federal agencies are in compliance with EEO regulations. The EEOC has been instrumental in interpreting employment law, and its interpretations and decisions have significantly contributed to past and present U.S. Supreme Court rulings pertaining to employment law. The EEOC has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination and harassment, assist in resolving the charges, and file lawsuits against employers if the employers refuse to cooperate. Since many states have their own anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC works with local and state agencies called Fair Employment Practice Agencies (FEPAs) so that employees who wish to file discrimination charges can do so on a state and/or federal level.
Thank you for reading! If you have any suggestions or comments regarding how these terms are defined, or if I left something out, please feel free to comment about it.