by Saul Glazer
With the increase in terrorism and attention given to immigration- related complaints, there is commensurate potential for workplace conflict and harassment related to national origin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued new guidelines to help employers prevent national origin discrimination in the workplace. This article discusses national origin discrimination and highlights the key examples in the EEOC’s newly issued guidelines.
National origin discrimination defined
Navigating the ins and outs of your obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state laws can be a challenge for even the most seasoned HR professional. One situation that may be familiar to you is having an employee with food allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 15 million people in the United States suffer from food allergies, and that number is steadily increasing. Allergies are not only miserable for the sufferer, but they can also hurt an employer’s bottom line: It’s estimated that employees miss about four million workdays per year as a result of allergies.
Depending on their severity, food allergies may be covered by the ADA or similar state laws. To avoid employee complaints, lost productivity, excessive absences, and the risk of a lawsuit, it’s important to have a plan in place to address requests for accommodations based on food allergies.
A Turkish-born Muslim teacher claimed that her school had a culture of racial and ethnic hostility. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions apply to Colorado employers) recently ruled that her complaints of national origin discrimination may move forward. This case offers several lessons on how to handle cultural differences in the workplace.
Principal made and allowed insensitive comments
by Amy S. Ybarra
Bullying. We’ve all read the headlines. A child shoots another child who bullied him. A child takes her own life because she was bullied. As a result, schools are teaching kids and parents about recognizing the signs of bullying, reporting troubling behavior, and stopping it before it escalates. But bullying is for kids, and employers don’t need to worry about it, right? Wrong.
Law on bullying
Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show that charges of discrimination based on religion and national origin are the fastest growing categories in the past decade. Of course, that coincides with the aftermath of 9/11 and, rational or not, American anger and suspicions over Middle Eastern Arab communities. This shift in public mood creates a problem for HR professionals, whose job it is to ensure a workplace free from discrimination and harassment―a prejudice-free island in an ocean littered with group hatred. That’s no easy job, as United Parcel Service (UPS) was reminded recently. read more…
A federal trial court in Nevada apparently couldn’t believe that a woman’s sexual overtures to a male coworker would ever be unwelcome and rejected the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) attempt to file a harassment suit on his behalf. But in a recent decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) disagreed. Sexual harassment laws protect men on the same basis as women.
Woman Preys on Male Coworker
For a week, the nation’s news reporters were captivated by a Florida preacher’s plans to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Although he ultimately backed down, his campaign and the heated debates and protests over planned mosques near ground zero and in other parts of the country have drawn attention to the fact that many Americans harbor resentment, anger, and fear toward the Muslim community.
Many Muslims have commented that they feel more in danger and stereotyped than they did immediately after the September 11 attacks, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the statistics to back up those feelings. Between September 11, 2001, and May 7, 2002, the EEOC received 497 discrimination charges on the basis of Muslim religion (up from 193 a year earlier). The number has risen steadily in recent years — from 697 claims in 2004 and 1,034 claims in 2008 to 1,490 claims in 2009.