Discrimination and Employment Law

Introduction

Diversity is a common practice at any given workplace since individuals originate from different backgrounds due to the differences in their areas of specialization. The level of exposure differs from one individual to the other hence creating an environment that exhibits various practices as also noted by Roberts and Mann (2015). It is important for one to understand the roles played by each part in the process of engagement where the employer and the employee have a significant role to play in their different positions. This paper focuses on the case where an employee had an issue with the kind of language that was used at the workplace hence taking legal action against the employer as a way of trying to solve the problem.

Elements of the case

Freedom of speech is a critical right to human beings especially when at the workplace since they need to communicate with one another. Nickerson et al. (2014) observed that the practice is expected to be conducted maturely by respecting the interests of other people within the same environment. In this case, a plaintiff must present a prima facie case to avoid dismissal of the case or an unfavorable directed verdict. As presented by Reeves, it is evident that her male counterparts behaved in a manner that suggested discrimination based on gender since their choice of words was not friendly to the female workers. The allegations implied that there was a lack of respect by C.H Robinson since its employees could not consider the presence of female gender when discussing sensitive issues and used vulgar language. Reeves assumed that it was the responsibility of the management to stop such culture and encourage a situation whereby each person is respected and allowed to contribute towards the growth of the company.

Basis of the court’s ruling

When a case is presented before the court, due processes are observed when seeking for justices during the judgment stages. Pateman (2014) also observed that the practice advocates for proper analysis of the case using the evidence presented by both parties involved in the case. The move helps in developing effective decision-making process where the judge has enough evidence to decide the nature of the case. In the case presented by Reeves, the court ruled against her expectations since her case did not provide convincing evidence to implicate the employer. When employees interact, it is difficult for the employer to dictate the kind of conversation that should be pursued. It is important to note that the other employees had the freedom to interact and share information without being monitored on what they should speak when together as friends. Law must be observed when prosecuting an individual to ensure the crime is recognized as a punishable under the stipulated terms and conditions during the engagement process.

For an employer to be liable when a case is reported, the evidence is derived from the kind of terms and conditions of engagement between the employer and the employee. The evidence was not presented by Reeves hence making her case weak since the allegations cannot be used to make a fair judgment, especially when ruling against the employer. It is possible that the situation has been the same long before Reeves’ arrival hence making it a culture that did not just target Reeves. Such information makes it difficult for the case to be ruled for Reeves since the case lacked the evidence of sexual discrimination as Reeves might want to imply in the case.

Observation of timeframe is critical practices when engaging in legal battles since there are different categories of cases that have a different timeframe of reporting such cases. Once the timeframe elapses, it is possible for the case to be nullified based on technicality issues. Reeves did not consider the 180 days stipulated in the law when launching a complaint against an employer hence making her case to be ruled against her expectations.

Possible liability

The state and federal laws do not present a similar treatment for the independent contractors and the employees. This is based on the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which categorizes work place harassment as an unlawful act once it is based on a person’s race, sex, religion, color as well as national origin. It is common for employees to be held responsible for an independent contractor’s behavior as indicated in the recent ruling (Santos v. Puerto Rico Children’s Hospital). In this case, it is evident that employees need to be protected to ensure that they are not liable for crimes that they have not committed. As much as independent contractors are not protected under the anti-discrimination laws, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the third party who is the employees is prevented from being harassed in any particular way. In this state, if the situation was to be considered to be independent contractor versus an employee, C.H Robinson could possibly be held responsible for sexual harassment and could face the lawsuit.

Conclusion

Discrimination is a sensitive practice that must be controlled at the workplace to ensure employees are protected by the law as noted by Megarry (2014). It is common for individuals to act out of ignorance and exhibit discriminative actions without knowing the impacts created by their actions. Individuals should follow the right procedures when presenting a case against any party since the law is meant to protect the right of every person.

 

References

Megarry, J. (2014, December). Online incivility or sexual harassment? Conceptualizing women’s
experiences in the digital age. In Women’s Studies International Forum (Vol. 47, pp. 46-

55). Pergamon.

Mitchell, K. J., Ybarra, M. L., & Korchmaros, J. D. (2014). Sexual harassment among

adolescents of different sexual orientations and gender identities. Child abuse & neglect,

38(2), 280-295.

Nickerson, A. B., Aloe, A. M., Livingston, J. A., & Feeley, T. H. (2014). Measurement of the

bystander intervention model for bullying and sexual harassment. Journal of adolescence,

37(4), 391-400.

Pateman, C. (2014). Sexual contract. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Roberts, B. S., & Mann, R. A. (2015). Sexual harassment in the workplace: A primer. Akron Law

            Review, 29(2), 5.

 

 

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