Oftentimes, students will be asked to analyze case studies and come to a comprehensive understanding of how those cases can apply to society at large. This sample essay explores two legal cases in American workplace law, with the first concerning racism and the second concerning rape.
Examining two case studies: racism and rape
The government mandated programs and regulations for companies to abide to decrease discrimination for minority employees and business owners. According to Shaw (2011), affirmative action programs were
“designed to correct imbalances in employment that exist directly as a result of past discrimination” (p. 433).
These programs are necessary to help minorities thrive in a world where businesses are predominately run by Caucasians.
Nonetheless, given the evidence that racism is an obstacle to African-American business success, state, local, and the federal governments are all obligated to assist minority-owned companies to ensure that affirmative action programs, such as set-asides, are decreasing employment discrimination for African-Americans while protecting the rights of Caucasians. The New American Chamber of Congress (2007) explained that
“we have an obligation in government, state, federal or city to ensure that all firms in our state have an opportunity to participate in contracts that are paid for with tax dollars.”
Since the government created and implements amendments, laws, and regulations to end discrimination, they are responsible for ensuring that African-Americans have equal opportunities in the business world. Nevertheless, state and local governments must also be involved to guarantee that these laws and regulations are not hindering the potential employment prospects of Caucasians.
For instance, the consensus in City of Richmond v. Croson invalidated a Richmond, Virginia that
“set aside 30 percent of the dollar amount of their contracts to Minority Business Enterprises” (Shaw, 2011, p. 447).
As a result, when our tax dollars seek to help African-Americans, it is necessary for state and local officials to ensure that the rights of Caucasians are also equally protected. However, if the discrimination is done privately between two businesses, local, state, and government officials should only intervene when necessary since tax dollars are not supporting the businesses.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2013), sexual harassment includes
“unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
When Vinson acquiesced to Taylor’s sexual demands, her behavior was not voluntary since it falls under quid-pro-quo harassment. Shaw (2011) explained that quid-pro-quo harassment occurs when a supervisor makes an employee’s job conditional by performing sexual acts. Since Taylor was Vinson’s supervisor and he claimed that she owed him for the job, her actions were not voluntary given that she was being forced to protect her employment.
Sexual Relations Without Consent
In addition, the voluntariness of Vinson’s behavior does not mean that she had “consented” to Taylor’s advances since Taylor had raped Vinson. In the case, Vinson testified that “Taylor often actually assaulted or raped her” (Shaw, 2011). Since rape involves sexual relations without consent, Vinson’s behavior shows that she was coerced to have sex with her supervisor against her will.
Furthermore, just because Vinson had intercourse with Taylor does not mean that the advances are welcome. Roberts and Mann (2013) explained that “a hostile work environment arises when a co-worker or supervisor, engaging in unwelcome and inappropriate sexually based behavior, renders the workplace atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive.” Therefore, Taylor’s advances created a hostile work environment for Vinson.
The fact that Vinson acquiescence to the advancements is not grounds to show that there was no sexual harassment since quid-pro-quo harassment and a hostile work environment both constitute sexual harassment. The United Supreme Court’s ruling was right about this case since Vinson’s conduct proved that the advances were unwelcome since she was forced to have intercourse. However, it is agreed that the bank should not be liable since the bank was not notified about the sexual harassment when it was being committed by one of its supervisors.
New American Chamber of Congress. (2007). Minority business certification. Retrieved from http://www.mynacc.org/6154/programs.html
Roberts, B.S., & Mann, R.A. (2013). Sexual harassment in the workplace: A primer. Retrieved from http://www3.uakron.edu/lawrev/robert1.html
Shaw, W.H. (2011). Business ethics: A textbook with cases (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2013). Sexual harassment. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm