DeMur went to Marta Ford, HR, to change his name and told her about the religious comments his co-workers were making. Ford should have recognized a potential for harassment from this conversation and taken action. She should have taken his statements more seriously, yet she told him not to worry about it, and the situation escalated. Steps to prevent further harassment and discrimination were taken when an email was sent to the entire staff reminding them about the company policy of discrimination and harassment as well as the penalties for not following the policies. The harassment stopped after Ford’s email was sent out.
Sensitivity training and workshops about diversity and inclusion should be developed, and harassment complaints must be taken seriously. Learning sessions on diversity and inclusion educate employees on how to behave and set the model for employee behavior. DeMur could have reviewed the corporate policies and procedures and potentially reach out to an attorney. The EEOC could also have been contacted so an external investigator could review DeMur’s complaints.
Judith Dixon, Vice President, EEO and Diversity, was brought in after DeMur filed a formal complaint. Following a full investigation, those found guilty of discrimination should receive disciplinary action, up to and including, termination of employment. Sensitivity training should be mandatory for all employees with resulting disciplinary action for anyone in violation. In the EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, their refusal to hire a candidate based on her religious beliefs cost them in both money and reputation. To avoid this type of publicity, it is recommended that written and objective criteria for candidate selection, will help mitigate the risk of discriminatory hiring (EEOC, 2016).
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/litigation/selected/religion_nationalorigin.cfm
Harassment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/harassment.cfm.
Actions of Marta Ford
The duty of the Human Resources Director is to supervise and provide consultation to management on strategic staffing plans, compensation, benefits, training and development, budget, and labor relations (Bisk, 2017). Although Marta Ford did respond to the complaint promptly, she could have been proactive in reminding the employees at the new facility of the policies and procedures. She could have sent emails and other correspondences to possibly avoid the situation beforehand or when Mr. De Mur came to the office to change his name that was another opportunity.
To prevent future occurrences or claims she can provide employees with the written policies that further educate the staff on the laws and regulations this system should also include the consequences of violating these policies. She can use best practices to notify another employee such as:
To prevent conflicts from escalating to the level of a Title VII violation, employers should immediately intervene when they become aware of objectively abusive or insulting conduct, even absent a complaint (water cooler talk) (EEOC, 2017).
Department meetings to introduce and mingle. Employee self-introduction helps with breaking barriers first hand and improves workplace environment on a personable level of teamwork.
Encourage open door policies and chain of command when leadership is out of the office. Diversity is important in the workplace because it builds relationships between people with different backgrounds and points of view which create excellent reputations for the company, leading to increased profitability and opportunities for workers through collaborations and cohesiveness (Mayhew, 2017).
Mayhew, R. (2017). Why Is Diversity in the Workplace Important to Employees? Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/diversity-workplace-important-employees-10812.html