THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM THE EEOC'S WEBSITE.
NONDISCRIMINATORY SELECTION DECISION
Malcolm, an Asian American, applies for an executive position with the employer, a health maintenance organization. Malcolm is well qualified; he has a B.S. in biology from a large state university and an M.D. from a prestigious private university. Malcolm also has seven years’ experience practicing internal medicine and recently obtained an Executive M.B.A. from a well-respected business school. The employer interviewed Malcolm and eight other candidates. Malcolm was one of two finalists brought back for a final round of interviews. The employer’s selection committee ultimately chose Robert, a White finalist with slightly fewer qualifications but with experience in a similar job for a competitor. The employer tells EEOC that given Robert’s experience, it believed it would gain the most competitive benefit by hiring him. The EEOC investigator confirms Robert’s experience working for a competitor, and reads the minutes of the selection committee’s final meeting which reflect that this was the reason discussed at the meeting for choosing Robert over Malcolm. Here, the evidence supports the employer’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason.
DISCRIMINATORY SELECTION DECISION
Kai, a Native American, files a charge after he applied for a promotion, was interviewed, and was not selected. The investigation reveals that, based on objective qualifications, Kai was deemed one of the top candidates but the job ended up going to Ted, a similarly qualified White candidate from outside the company. The hiring manager tells the investigator that he thought that Kai was well qualified but he chose Ted because he “seemed to be a better fit; I’m comfortable with him and I can see him in my job one day.” When pressed to be more specific,the manager says he liked the fact that Ted worked for a competitor. However, the investigation reveals that although Ted did work for another company in the industry, it was not really a competitor. Employee and management witnesses tell the investigator that Ted’s experience working for another company in the industry was no more valuable than Kai’s experience working for the company itself. The witnesses also tell the investigator that, until now, the company practice had been to prefer qualified internal candidates over similarly qualified external candidates. There is reasonable cause to believe that Kai was discriminated against based on his race or national origin.
Failure to Promote
CP, a Hispanic administrative assistant, filed a charge alleging that she receives less pay than the office manager even though in her opinion they perform similar work. The investigator concludes that CP is not similarly situated to the office manager due to the difference in responsibility associated with the jobs. Nevertheless, the investigation reveals that all but one of R's Hispanic employees hold lower paying clerical, secretarial, and low-level administrative positions. Many of these employees testified to the lack of promotional opportunities into higher paying jobs. R asserted that it does not employ Hispanics in higher paying jobs because of a lack of qualified applicants. The investigator determines that qualified Hispanic employees have applied for these jobs but nearly all, like CP, have not been promoted. "Cause" is therefore found with respect to steering Hispanics into the lower-paying positions and denying them promotions.
Different terms & conditions
Suhail, of Arab descent, works for a computer software company. The company thrives on active socializing between employees and decisionmakers both on and off the job – from lunch outings, after-work happy hours and weekend golf outings, to children’s birthday parties and family barbeques. Many employees establish strong relationships with decisionmakers through these informal networks, and as a result, tend to get put on the plum projects and get the plum promotions. Suhail has experienced difficulty in building relationships with decisionmakers because he often receives invitations late or indirectly from peers, rather from the decisionmakers themselves. After being passed over for several important projects, Suhail files a charge alleging race/national origin discrimination because he believes he is being excluded from his workplace network for reasons related to his Arab descent. Suhail’s exclusion would be actionable if it affects the terms and conditions of his employment.
After receiving an advanced business degree, Mary was hired as an entry-level associate at a management and technology consulting firm. She was the only Black associate among the new entry-level associates. Most of the firm’s managers are White males. Initially, as with other new associates, Mary received routine assignments, and consistently met the expectations of the assigning managers. But as other associates became increasingly busy with complex, long-term projects, Mary noticed that she continued to receive projects that were short-term and routine. At her six-month performance review, the firm told Mary that her performance was good, and she received a bonus on par with other associates. She told the reviewers that she would like to receive more demanding work. Nevertheless, Mary’s difficulty getting choice assignments became compounded in the remaining half of the year as managers gave important work to those associates who had successfully handled it for them in the past. This happened despite Mary’s repeating on several occasions her request for more challenges. After a year at the firm, it was clear that her contemporaries had much higher standing in the firm than she did, as reflected in the low pay raise she received as compared to others. Mary opted to seek a fresh start with another firm. Soon after, Mary filed a charge against the employer alleging race discrimination in the terms and conditions of her employment. The employer cannot offer, and the investigation does not reveal, a credible nondiscriminatory explanation for Mary’s treatment. Thus, the evidence suggests that race bias affected how managers assigned Mary work, which in turn stalled her career development and affected her pay.
Bill has felt like he has been treated less favorably than his female co-workers. Bill believes his supervisor acts discriminately towards men and files a complaint with the Human Resources department and then another complaint with Metro. Shortly after his employer receives his Metro complaint, Bill is terminated for "not being a team player." Bill should then return to Metro to file a complaint of retaliation. Bill has engaged in the statutorily protected activity of protesting discriminatory treatment.
Using these same circumstances, one of Bill's co-workers provides the Metro investigator with evidence showing their supervisor's bias towards men. Shortly after this co-worker's interview with the investigator, the supervisor cuts this employee's hours. The co-worker is also protected under the laws
A male tennis instructor and a female tennis instructor at a particular health club provide tennis lessons that are substantially equal. The male instructor is paid a weekly salary, but the female instructor is paid by the lesson. Even if the two instructors receive essentially the same pay per week, there is a violation because the male and female are not paid in the same form for substantially equal work.
Training, advancement opportunities
Tina, a brown-skinned woman of Mexican descent, is a new office clerk. Her primary duties are to sort and file purchase orders and invoices. Within a few weeks, it is clear to the employer that Tina is processing her purchase orders and invoices too slowly due to mistakes. The employer terminates Tina, who then files a charge alleging race discrimination. The investigation reveals that although White employees who perform at a substandard level are coached toward increasingly good performance, Tina and other employees of color get less feedback and thus tend to repeat mistakes and make new ones that could have been avoided. The evidence establishes that the employer unlawfully terminated Tina.
Discipline and Discharge(termination)
Joanne, a retail store clerk, is frequently 10-15 minutes late for her shift on several days per week when she attends Mass at a Catholic Church across town. Her manager, Donald, has never disciplined her for this tardiness, and instead filled in for her at the cash register until she arrived, stating that he understood her situation. On the other hand, Yusef, a newly hired clerk who is Muslim, is disciplined by Donald for arriving 10 minutes late for his shift even though Donald knows it is due to his attendance at services at the local Mosque. While Donald can require all similarly situated employees to be punctual, he is engaging in disparate treatment based on religion by disciplining only Yusef and not Joanne absent a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for treating them differently.
Monica, a Filipino sales representative, is the only person of color in her district. Monica’s job requires that she travel to the offices of clients and potential clients to market company products. Company policy requires sales representatives to be in the field from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and that they make sales calls on at least seven clients each and every day. Actual practice, however, is different. Most sales representatives “bank” their sales calls so that if they have a particularly productive day, they record the “extra” sales calls as occurring on a less productive day. When Monica learns that the practice is common among sales representatives, she begins to do it too, because she likes the flexibility that it offers. Things change after the company assigns a new District Manager to Monica’s district. The new manager tells Monica that “banking” sales calls is against policy and that he intends to ask the Regional Manager for permission to discipline Monica, which would deny her a bonus and make her a candidate for layoff. When Monica protests that other sales representatives in her district use the same practice, her supervisor feigns ignorance and does nothing about it. The Regional Manager approves the discipline based upon the District Manager’s recommendation. Monica files a charge alleging race discrimination. The investigation does not reveal a credible and persuasive nondiscriminatory explanation for what otherwise appears to be a racial double standard. Thus, it is likely that Monica’s discipline was racially motivated, in violation of Title VII.
Employment Decision Based on Customer Preference
Harinder, who wears a turban as part of his Sikh religion, is hired to work at the counter in a coffee shop. A few weeks after Harinder begins working, the manager notices that the work crew from the construction site near the shop no longer comes in for coffee in the mornings. When he inquires, the crew complains that Harinder, whom they mistakenly believe is Muslim, makes them uncomfortable in light of the September 11th attacks. The manager tells Harinder that he has to let him go because the customers’ discomfort is understandable. The manager has subjected Harinder to unlawful religious discrimination by taking an adverse action based on customers’ preference not to have a cashier of Harinder’s perceived religion. Harinder’s termination based on customer preference would violate Title VII regardless of whether he was Muslim, Sikh, or any other religion.
Some general examples include:
• Pressure for dates
• Offensive remarks about appearance
• Sexual/racial jokes
• Use of racially derogatory words, phrases, epithets
• Use of gestures or pictures that would offend a particular racial or ethnic group
• Negative comments about an individual’s skin
• Derogatory or intimidating references to an employee’s mental or physical impairment
The following is a scenario regarding an employee who is alleging harassment from a non-employee:
Joan dreads each time her photocopier breaks down because the repair person assigned to her office always leers at her and makes sexually suggestive remarks. Joan has complained to her supervisor, but the supervisor says that he doesn’t have any control over the repair person because that individual is an employee of the photocopier service company and not an employee of the agency. The supervisor does relay Joan’s complaints to the service company, but no action is taken.
The following scenario describes possible harassment by co-workers:
Deborah’s male co-workers frequently engage in bawdy sexual banter and horseplay in the office. They trade stories about their sexual exploits and kid about each other’s sexual prowess. Deborah sometimes has conversations of a sexual nature with one of her male co-workers, but she has let the others know that she is offended by their banter and horseplay. Deborah has complained to her supervisor, but she has taken no action.
Harassment based on sex is also prohibited. The following describes what might be harassment by a supervisor and possibly retaliation:
Carter is a chemical engineer detailed to the division that exclusively handles the governmental defense contracts and so is known for being the “gateway” to a managerial position. With this assignment, Carter becomes the only female engineer in the division. Her new division chief appears displeased when introduced to Carter and remarks about his surprise that “Carter” is the name of a female. He asks her, “Did you feel you had to get a man’s job because you were given a man’s name?” He soon begins to also ask about her ability to “work like a man” and whether she “slept her way through engineering school.” When Carter protests, the division chief has her returned to her original division, noting that she is too soft to deal with the defense clients.