Employment and Labor Laws

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Article VII of the Civil Rights Act was enacted to combat discrimination in employment providing tough and groundbreaking workplace discrimination laws. However, the forms of discrimination provided for in the Act were structured along the more direct racist and segregate ways which were easy to spot, whereas the situation today has changed significantly. The article by Tristen K. Green is an attempt to look at the modern forms of discrimination, which are present in the contemporary workplace environment. According to the writer, modern day workplace discrimination often takes place in a fluid process of social interaction, perception, evaluation, and disbursement of opportunity.

Relevance of the Article

The article is relevant to the course content as it addresses employment and labor law issues that face modern day employers. The question of workplace discrimination in the companies is very critical in a modern day democratic society that thrives on equity and equality of all people. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was enacted in an effort to ensure and promote an equal society in the challenging days of racism and segregation. These presented the main forms of discrimination in workplaces. However, the present reality is that there are new forms of discrimination in contemporary business environment. The article attempts to provide a conceptualization of these modern forms of discrimination and at the same time presents an inquiry into the relevant legal questions to be used in identifying and combating these types of discrimination (Tristen, 2009). Today, employers use different methods of discrimination that infringe on the constitutional right of equality where some even take advantage of the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. For instance, section 703(h) has a provision that allows the use of any professionally developed ability test when hiring and promoting employees. This requirement has been abused by some employers who use it to discriminate against some workers or applicants. This was highlighted in a Supreme Court case where it was held that certain education requirements and intelligence tests used as conditions of employment acted to exclude African-American job applicants. These tests proved to be not related to job performance and thus were prohibited.

Analysis of the Logic of the Authors Argument

The arguments presented by the author are logical, and therefore are complete in the sense that the author identifies the problem, addresses its root cause and then proceeds to develop a solution. The author argues that in order to combat the modern-day complex and subtle forms of discrimination, there is the need to focus on the operation of discriminatory bias as influenced and encouraged by the structures, practices, and dynamics of the organizations and groups within which individuals work. In the authors view, modern-day discrimination is not an issue of individual bias towards another person, but rather it is entrenched in the structural framework of most organizations and embedded in the business practice of such organization. This kind of discrimination can be perpetuated either intentionally that is conscious discrimination or unconscious discrimination. Moreover, structures and practices that exist in an organization facilitate discrimination. The author then proposes a number of interrelated workplace changes that have special importance to the antidiscrimination pursuit (Donald, 2013). The changes that Green proposes include the flattening of hierarchies and blurring of job boundaries, the allocation of work for a team rather than on an individual basis, and the adoption of more skill-based, individualistic, and flexible methods of evaluation. These changes are targeted at solving the problem of modern-day workplace discrimination, which was not envisaged under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The analysis provided by the author is logical in its presentation and complete in providing the probable solutions to the problem.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Article

The author goes to great lengths in order to comprehensively discuss the topic, backing up her claims with well researched evidence. Perhaps the greatest strength of the article is the manner, in which the author lays out her points. The presentation style makes it easier for one to logically analyze her arguments. The article is divided into four parts with each part addressing different issues arising from the title of the article. The most important sections of the article are part I and part II. Under part I the author reviews some of the existing legal and socially scientific literature that demonstrates that the nature of discrimination has changed since the early days of the civil rights regime and that more subtle and complex forms of discrimination exist today. Part II of the article provides a few of the examples of the types of discrimination that the author was able to identify. It is under this part that Green gives an illustration of how discriminatory bias might operate to hinder opportunity and employability for women and minorities in more modern organizational structures (Frank & Bahudin, 2006).

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However, despite these strengths, the article has some weaknesses, which make it to be lacking data in some aspects. Firstly, it is important when discussing the question of discrimination for one to address the different conceptions of equality and discrimination. This is critical in determining the various forms of discrimination that are present in the modern-day workplace environment. The author of the article proceeds to discussing the different types of discrimination without properly placing them in their specific conceptions. Secondly, while the author addresses the forms of discrimination, she does not comprehensively evaluate the causes and consequences of such discriminatory practice. This is important in finding a complete solution for discriminatory practice in modern workplace environment.

The need to determine the different conceptions of equality is informed by Timo Makkonen in his article Main Causes, Forms and Consequences of Discrimination of 2010. In this article, the author argues that the main conceptions of equality are formal equality, equality of results and equality of opportunity. He defines formal equality as procedural in nature and requires consistent treatment, and thus the need to treat likes alike. It is under this kind of equality that there is a strict prohibition of discrimination, since all those who are equal should be treated respectively. It is based on the concept that everyone is equal before the law whereas equality of results is substantial in nature and aims at achieving a fair distribution of benefits. Lastly, equality of opportunity seeks to find a middle ground between the two forms of equality and aims to equalize the starting point, after which people are, as a rule, to be treated on the basis of formal equality. Equal opportunities approach focuses not only on leveling the playing field but also on elimination of prejudices and processes leading to discriminatory outcomes (Timo, 2010). Based on these conceptions, it becomes easier to understand the different forms in which discrimination can occur; and one is therefore able to place any form of discrimination in its proper context.

In conclusion, it is important to note that the article by Tristen Green provides a clear picture on the modern forms of discrimination, particularly discrimination based on race and age. The evidence presented in the article shows that discrimination has negative economic, social and health effects on the society at large.

Annotated Bibliography

Dowling, D. C. (2013). Global equal employment opportunity toolkit international employment partner. White & Case, September 2013, 1-18.

Mr. Donald C. Dowling is among the most recognized and leading lawyers in international labor employment law. He has published dozens of scholarly articles as well as book chapters touching on discrimination in employment and equal opportunities. He has written on various aspects of international employment law, including the international law journals of Cornell and Northwestern law Schools.

Green, T. (2009). Discrimination in workplace dynamics toward a structural account of disparate treatment theory. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Review, 38.

Prof. Tristen Green is a scholar who mainly focuses on employment discrimination and inequality. She draws on the social sciences in her work to better understand discrimination as it operates in the modern day workplace. She is the author of many other articles, which include Race and Sex in Organizing Work; Diversity, Discrimination and Integration.

Makkonen, T. (2010). Equal in law, unequal in fact; racial and ethnic discrimination and the legal response thereto in Europe. Helsinki: Helsingin Yliopisto..

Mr. Makkonen is one of the most celebrated scholars in employment law and equal opportunity. He has written dozens of scholarly articles and published numerous books onemployment and labor issues including his article, main causes, forms and consequences of discrimination.

Cavico, F. J & Mujtaba, B. G. (2011). Discrimination and the aging American workforce; legal analysis and management strategies, SAM Advanced Management Jourrnal, 76(4), 1-41.

The authors of the article are experienced legal experts in the field of employment and labor law issues. They have written extensively on the issues of discrimination and equal treatment in employment. The primary goal of the article was to facilitate the creation of real strategies, tactics, and suggestions to conform to age discrimination laws, in order to maintain fair employment practices, and how to handle an actual age-based discrimination lawsuit.

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