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The Discrimination of Nonnative Speakers in the Workplace Essay

Maria, an employee of Latino decent feels she was unfairly eliminated for a promotion because of her distinct accent; she has filed a complaint alleging the company has engaged in discriminatory practices. Evaluation

Maria is a good employee but is often loud and aggressive in her approach to co-workers and supervisors. The employee record shows there were problems with tardiness and attendance and twice supervisors for these infractions have counseled her. Maria has pointed out that she is the only Latino, person of color and woman in her department and states a supervisor stated she was not promoted because he feared clients would have trouble understanding her accent.

Maria has been with the company for ten years and in her current position for seven. She holds a graduate degree and claims her low evaluations reflect a built in bias by her white male supervisors. Despite the fact that Alex, who too holds a graduate degree, has less time with the company, he had better performance evaluations than Maria and was offered the promotion.

The company is admitting that Maria’s accent was a factor in their decision but claim it they did not discriminate against Maria by not offering her the promotion related to her accent alone. The company also states that clear communication was an essential component of the job in question, but was it the only component needed. What does Maria do well that could have superseded this essential component? The company may have thought they were not discriminating against Maria but by acknowledging and then stating she was not being promoted solely based on the trouble of understanding her accent, the company has indeed engaged in discriminatory practices and I feel Maria may have a valid argument, and case against her employer.

 Latinos in America

Despite several decades of legislation and policies designed to eliminate unfair treatment, unfortunately individual and institutional discrimination still exist today (Pavalko, Mossakowski, & Hamilton, 2013, p. 27-28). The traditional focus of psychological research on prejudice and discrimination has been on black-white relations while research on the prejudice and discrimination of Latinos has been astonishingly rare (Dovidio, Gluszek, John, Ditlmann, & Lagunes, 2010, p.60). A review of articles on discrimination and prejudice in three of the leading social psychology journals revealed that sixty-one percent of articles focused on blacks whereas only seven percent of the articles focused on Latino discrimination and prejudice (Dovidio et al., 2010, p. 60).

As of 2011, there were fifty million Hispanic people living in the United States accounting for sixteen percent of the nation’s total population. African American individuals living in the United States accounted for forty three million people living in the United States therefore people of Hispanic origin account for the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority living in the United States (United States Census Bureau, 2014, Table 1). Although Latinos earn an average of $6,000 dollars, more than blacks a year Latinos are still earning on average $15,000 less a year then Caucasians (Dovidio et al., 2010, p. 60). When it comes to educational attainment for those over twenty-five years of age 30.5% of whites, 17.3% of blacks and 12.5% of Latinos hold a bachelor’s degree or higher (Dovidio et al., 2010, p. 60).

As a registered nurse, I was shocked to discover that of all the registered nurses in the United States only 1.7% are of Latino decent (Moceri, 2012, ¶ 1). Upon reading this data I started paying attention to not only my unit but to others within the hospital, we have one Latino nurse out of twenty who work on my floor but inquiring of other floors, they indeed had no Latino nurses employed. This was quite shocking as I work in a heavily Latino populated area therefore caring for this population. Greater racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions would promote patient-provider relationships (Moceri, 2012, ¶ 1). I feel this to be true where I am employed as a registered nurse, our demographic of patient would be better served if we had a higher inclusion of Latino nurses because they may be able to relate better to people like themselves.

National Origin, Accents and the Law

Although employers generally feel justified in denying immigrants employment based on the needs of their businesses, immigrants have regularly filed discriminating lawsuits against these companies since the 1980’s under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects immigrants from being discriminated against based on their national origin (Texas Law Review, 20xx, p. 1496). Title VII has been used to litigate against employers who institute English-only rules as non-native English immigrants equate this to national origin discrimination (Texas Law review, 20XX, p. 1496). It seems that under the civil rights act of 1964, these individuals would have a legitimate claim of discrimination but despite the strong links, courts rarely rule in favor of the plaintiffs in these cases. The courts find that there is not significant harm caused to the plaintiff or sufficient business reasons were laid forth by the employer as reasons to justify its decision (Texas Law Review, 20xx, p. 1496)

Title VII states:

“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer – (1) To fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s… national origin; or (2) To limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s…national origin” (Texas Law Review, 20xx, p.1497). The problem with article VII is the term, National Origin and its broad interpretation. The Supreme Court examined national origin in 1973 court case Espinoza vs Farah Manufacturing and found national origin “on its face refers to the country where a person was born, or more broadly, the country from which his or her ancestors came” (Texas Law Review, 20xx p.1497).

Because this is still broad in its interpretation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defined national origin as “the denial of equal employment opportunity because of an individuals, or his or her ancestor’s place of origin” (Texas Law Review, 20xx, p. 1497). Clearly, there is a lot of debate and even more interpretation on what national origin means in the court of law, perhaps this needs a definite clarification to stop perceptions of what individuals think it means. Attorneys are word wizards and if there is not a clear definition of what these two words means they will twist, turn and manipulate them, which in turn may end up harming their plaintiff’s chances of victory.

Diversity Planning

If I were an executive of Marias Company, I would realize the first stop into stopping future litigation of the same nature is to research and plan a strategic diversity plan. Prior to the development of the diversity department current employees will be gathered where management will explain how important diversity is to the company and it will be launching a new diversity team. The first step in this project is to appoint a diversity manager to serve over a diversity committee that is made up various members with connections to the community’s diverse community groups and organizations. This ensures the company has networking opportunities in order to recruit a wide variety of top shelf minority candidates for employment for a diverse work force within the company.

Once the workforce becomes more diverse, employees will visually see others like them instead of seeing them and then the Caucasian men who are their superiors. Not only will employees know how important a culturally diverse workforce is to the company, so will the outside community. The company will promote, advertise and market specifically to the community groups and organizations that promote minorities from African Americans, Latino, Women, Mexican American, Muslims, etc. All groups will be recognized as a crucial cultural group to the success of not only the newly created diversity team but to the company and community itself.

All company employees will have the ability to attend monthly diversity meetings where they can bring ideas to the table when it comes to recruitment, employment, questions or concerns. The company will also have a complete open door policy to discuss any concerns, from possible mistreatment to harassment there will be no repercussions for any employee bringing a concern to the committee for addressing. If a complaint is made, there will be a strict twenty four to forty eight hour period in which the initial complaint will be investigated and dealt with. The diversity team will then act appropriately and upon conclusion, will alert the complainant of the findings. The diversity team will include a trained mediator in situations where both parties must come together to work out differences and come to an agreed upon contingency plan that’s main goal is to make a cohesive work environment.

To ensure fairness and justice promotions are to be granted thru the utilization of stringent parameters. Time with the company and disciplinary actions are viewed as a first step in the candidate’s process however, they will not be the only factor. The company will view each candidate’s strengths subsequently corresponding each to the positions requirements to find the best very fit for the position. Once the best match on paper is founded face-to-face interviews will be conducted that will include a standard set of questions for each candidate to answer, based upon the positions requirements.

Although the questions do not include right nor wrong answer it will be up to one person from the human resource department and one individual from the human resource department to ultimately come to an agreement on the best fit for the company. Once the decision is made the employee whose resume and in person interview did not warrant the promotion will receive a detailed letter with the factors that did not warrant a promotion at this time. This employee will also have the opportunity to work with both the diversity committee (despite the individual’s ethnicity) and the human resource department to improve substandard criteria that will better serve them for future promotions.

Conclusion

Papers should end with a conclusion or summary. The assignment directions will specify which is required. It should be concise and contain little or no detail. No matter how much space is left on the page, the references always start on a separate page (insert a page break).

References

United States Census Bureau. (2014). Annual Estimates of the Resident
Population by Sex, Race Alone or in Combination, and Hispanic Origin for the United States, States, and Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013. Retrieved from http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk


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