Religious Discrimination and Racial Harassment

RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION AND RACIAL HARASSMENT 7

ReligiousDiscrimination and Racial Harassment

Thedomestic and global workforce is progressively getting diverse due tomultiple factors such as globalization, migration, technology, andinternationalization of companies. Workforce diversity brings alongopportunities and challenges to business operators. The issue hasbecome serious to human resource (HR) practitioners. Of concern isthe management of religious differences evident among the workforce.Differences in religious beliefs and practices have the potential toaffect employee interactions both at formal and informal settings.Often, religious variations are loosely linked racism and attitudeinclinations. The paper will explore employee’s religious beliefsand the cases of racial harassment at Treton Communications tounderstand the matter better. The company offers telecommunicationssolutions to diverse categories of consumers. It has close to 30,000employees working at various departments and office locations.

Tretonprides itself in advancing and promoting workplace diversity. Thepaper considers the case of an employee, MarShawn DeMur, whoexperienced religious discrimination. DeMur started working at thecompany as a management intern before rising to become a supervisor.Later DeMur was moved to Midwest facility as a manager. At Kansas, hejoined the Church of International Spirituality that had a smallpercentage of African-Americans. Nonetheless, the inhabitantsembraced diversity hence making DeMur like the area. DeMur facedharassment due to his new religious beliefs from colleagues at theworkplace. The case is an example of other instances where employeesare harassed or discriminated because of their religion, abilities,nationality, and race. The government has initiated policies and lawsto assist in curbing the trend that is evident in many companies.Besides, companies need to embrace initiatives that enhance equal andfair treatment of employees. Formulation of proper and fair HRpractices is necessary in a diverse setting since legislations alonecannot deter or respond effectively to discrimination and harassmentat the workplace.

Discussion

TheUS Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects employeesagainst discrimination based on sexual characteristics, age, gender,religion, nationality, and physical abilities, among others. Createdin 1965, EEOC arbitrates and settles numerous discriminationcomplaints in the US every year. Further, the country has other lawsthat compel companies to promote anti-discrimination policies at theworkplace. The case above is among thousands of situations that takeplace in the country yet only a few a reported for further action.After changing his name to Maalick, DeMur encountered religiousdiscrimination from his colleagues at the workplace. The workersconsidered that the new religion was viewed as strange by othermembers in the city. In fact, members of the Church of InternationalSpirituality were seen as witchcrafts.

Afterreturning from the confirmation ceremony, Maalick realized that hiscolleagues viewed him as a stranger. They no longer greeted in afriendly manner like they used to before he adopted the new religion.Others laughed at him for his new faith. Maalick also found out thathis decorated and filled with paraphernalia associated withwitchcraft. The goods amounted to religious discrimination due to hisassociation with Church of International Spirituality. Further, theactions of his colleagues represented racial harassment. Maalick’scolleagues had also put a picture of Africa with strange wordings andsymbols behind his desk. Some notes such as “Prayers for BlackFolk” were left at his office. All along, Maalick remained unawareof the people behind the incidents.

Tohelp address Maalick’s situation, the Midwest facility HR director,Marta Ford, convened an urgent meeting with all the departmentalheads. The HR manager was very apologetic to Maalick, saying that thecompany does not condone such behaviors. Ford’s immediate actionwas to send an e-mail to all employees to remind them about thecompany’s policies on harassment and discrimination (Dipboye &ampColella, 2013). The departmental heads further called a meeting forall employees to warn them about misbehaviors at the workplace. Themove helped ease the situation. At the same time, the HR directorwould occasionally visit Maalick to assess his situation. He laterencouraged him to apply for promotion to another position. Maalicklost the job to an outsider who happened to be a member of the samechurch as Jenkins.

Maalick’ssupervisor, Clive Jenkins, downplayed the magnitude of the incidents. He failed to critically look into the matter to ascertain themotives of the culprits. In his words, Jenkins argued that Maalickhad admirers within the workplace who had been a bit excited abouthis new religion. It is also noteworthy that the supervisor had anunknown attitude about Africans. Jenkins also showed respected toMaalick’s faith by referring it as “strange religion of yours”.He only promised to take action after realizing that Maalick wasupset about the events at the workplace. Jenkins’ response wasdiscriminatory for failing to handle the situation appropriately(Gilani, Cavico, &amp Mujtaba, 2014).

JudithDixon, the vice president for EEO and diversity, need to address thematter by complying with the company’s policies. Among the issuesto consider are anti-discrimination, diversity, harassment, andcompliance policies. Dixon might start by disciplining Maalick’simmediate supervisor, Jenkins, for failing to report or address theissue once it was reported. As an employee who understands thecompany’s policies, he failed to comply with the requirements(Ghumman, Ryan, Barclay, &amp Markel, 2013). Maalick wasdiscriminated on the job promotion because of his religion despitemeeting the qualifications required for the job. The Civil Rights Actof 1991 calls for equal employment and non-discrimination at theworkplace because of one’s religion or race. As such, Jenkinsshould be penalized for his inaction and inappropriate behavior thatfail to meet the standards set at Treton.

Additionally,Dixon needs to initiate awareness programs at the workplace thatwould help deter future incidences of discrimination or harassment.The program should be checked regularly to conform to the newdynamics and changes. It is also necessary that the HR departmentconsiders training employees on adherence and compliance to theestablished workplace policies as well as labor laws. Dixon alsoneeds to create an initiative that will see employees embracingdiverse population irrespective of their religion, race, andnationality (Ghumman, Ryan, Barclay, &amp Markel, 2013).

Theemployer has a responsibility to ensure employee safety besidesproviding equal opportunities. It is also one’s duty to identifystrange incidences in the company. Doing so is essential to assist indetermining appropriate interventions that may help save thesituation. Treton should discipline employees who intimidate orharass others without any genuine reason. It is thus suitable forDixon to use the “At-Will employment” to dismiss Jenkins for hisconduct. The code of ethics formulated by the employer shouldidentify the consequences of indiscipline among the employees.Besides formulating appropriate policy, companies need to train theirstaff to understand the content of anti-discriminatory laws. Thepolicy needs to consider the effectiveness of the policy. Accordingto Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2013), it is prudent foremployers to create dispute and complaints resolution mechanism.

TheAmerican laws require firms to exercise fairness in hiringindividuals. Non-discrimination Act discourages discriminationirrespective of sexual orientation, physical abilities, religion, andgender. Better remedies and penalties will promote social changethrough the creation of awareness throughout the Treton Company.Employees will learn the importance of fostering anti-discriminationpolicies as well as engage in human resource activities that do notprejudice employees based on race and religion. Diversity managementinitiatives are appropriate in a multicultural setting. It is alsoimportant to identify the groups at higher risks and offer thenecessary assistance. Proper human resource schemes can help enhanceequity in the workplace (Bell, 2012). Compliance with the equalitylaws is a significant step towards addressing the adverse effectsarising from diversity.

Conclusion

Companiesneed to promote a working environment that considers the diversecharacteristics and interests of all stakeholders. Regularanti-discrimination training for employees and managers is essentialto develop appropriate policies. The participation and cooperation ofthe management and staff are critical to enhance the success ofmanagerial initiatives towards eliminating discrimination. Tretonrequires instituting awareness and prevention initiatives to ensureemployees like MarShawn DeMur are not discriminated or harassedbecause of their racial or religious inclination. Regular checks andaudits are necessary to evaluate the progress of the plan. It is alsoindispensable for the plan to conform to the legislations andpolicies initiated by authorities. Embracing the proposed initiativeswill go a long way in creating an environment for the optimalproductivity of all employees, irrespective of age, religion,ethnicity, and abilities.

References

Bell,M. (2012). Diversity in organizations.Mason, Ohio: South-Western College.

Dipboye,R., &amp Colella, A. (2013). Discrimination at work: Thepsychological and organizational bases. New York: PsychologyPress.

EqualEmployment Opportunity Commission. (2013). Federallaws prohibiting job discrimination: questions and answers.Washington, D.C.: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Ghumman,S., Ryan, A., Barclay, L., &amp Markel, K. (2013). Religiousdiscrimination in the workplace: A review and examination of currentand future trends. Journal of Business and Psychology, 28(4),439-454.

Gilani,S., Cavico, F., &amp Mujtaba, B. (2014). Harassment at theworkplace: A practical review of the laws in the United Kingdom andthe United States of America. Public Organization Review,14(1), 1-18.