Public Personnel Management

MPA503:

Read:

· Required

· Pynes, J. E. (2013). Human resources management for public and nonprofit organizations: A strategic approach. (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

· Part 1: Human Resources Management in Context

· Chapter 3: Federal Equal Opportunity Laws and Other Employee Protections

· Module notes

View:

· Required

· Web sites:

· U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2014). EEOC Web page (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov.

· Department of Labor. (2008). Your rights under USERRA (Links to an external site.) [PDF file size 438 KB]. Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/USERRA_Federal.pdf.

Module 2: Module Notes: Laws that Provide Employment Protections

The notes will review the specific laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as other federal laws that provide employment protections. However, before we discuss the specific protections, it is important to review several concepts that overlay the application of these laws.

Section Equal Employment Opportunity Laws vs. Affirmative Action

The laws enforced by the federal EEOC prohibit employment discrimination based on an individual’s membership in a protected class (e.g., Muslims, individuals who are pregnant, etc.). These laws prohibit an employer from engaging in discrimination toward employees and job applicants and provide legal remedies for individuals who have been harmed.

Affirmative action refers to a collection of Executive Orders and Federal Laws focused on ensuring that employee and job applicants are not treated differently based on their membership in a protected class. Generally, these regulations are aimed at increasing representation in the workplace by members of the following categories of people: disabled workers, veterans, and underrepresented women and minorities. Instead of merely requiring that the employer not discriminate, affirmative action laws and regulations require an employer to engage in proactive measures to avoid discrimination and increase diversity in the workplace. While other employers can voluntarily enact affirmative action plans, these laws typically mandate affirmative action plans for federal agencies, government contractors, and other employers who have been ordered to by the courts

Section Disparate Treatment vs. Disparate Impact

When an individual presents a claim of employment discrimination, they must allege that they were discriminated against in violation of a law. This claim must allege that they were either subjected to disparate treatment or disparate impact based on their inclusion in a protected class (e.g., based on the fact that they were a woman). In a disparate treatment claim, the individual must allege that the employer deliberately treated them differently than another employee who is not a part of the protected class (Pynes, 2013, p. 84). In a disparate impact claim, the individual alleges that while the employer’s policy or practice appears to treat all comparable employees equally, the policy or practice actually disproportionately negatively impacts employees who are members of a protected class (Pynes, 2013, p. 87).

 

Reference

Pynes, J. E. (2013). Human resources management for public and nonprofit organizations: A strategic approach. (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Overview of the Laws Enforced by the EEOC

The EEOC is charged with enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against certain categories of people in the workplace. It provides protection against employment discrimination for most employees or job applicants of employers with 15 or more people.

The following are the categories of discrimination that the EEOC protects people against:

Age

Protection for those who are aged 40 and older

Disability

Protection for those who have either an actual or perceived disability

Race/Color

Protection against discrimination based on race, racial characteristics, or skin color

National Origin

Protection from discrimination based on their actual or perceived ethnicity, accent, or country of origin

Religion

Protection from discrimination based on an individual’s religious beliefs

Sex

Protection from discrimination based on an individual’s sex

Harassment

Protection from both sexual and nonsexual harassment

Pregnancy

Protection against discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a condition related to either

Equal Compensation

Protection against being compensated differently based on sex

Genetic Information

Protection against discrimination based on an individual’s genetic information, or family, or personal medical history

Retaliation

Protection against discrimination based on the fact that the individual previously complained of or filed a charge of discrimination

When making a claim of discrimination, an individual must allege that they have been discriminated against based upon their inclusion in one of these categories. Additionally, they must allege that they have been harmed in some way by their employer (e.g., they were fired, failed to receive a promotion, experienced a hostile work environment, etc.). However, note that exceptions to these laws are allowed if the employer is able to prove that the discrimination is necessary because the discriminatory factor is a bona fide occupational qualification (Pynes, 2013, p. 71).

References

Pynes, J. E. (2013). Human resources management for public and nonprofit organizations: A strategic approach. (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2014). EEOC Web page (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov

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While the EEOC provides uniform protection for most employees or job applicants with 15 or more people, these laws are not the only ones protecting individuals against employment discrimination. States and local governments are also able to pass laws that offer additional protection against discrimination. For example, while the EEOC does not enforce laws that specifically protect against discrimination as a result of an individual’s sexual orientation, many states have enacted laws protecting against this form of discrimination. This is why it is particularly important to be familiar with the laws in the state in which you are operating, because each state is different!

Module 2: Module Notes: Additional Federal Employment Laws

In addition to the laws enforced by the EEOC, there are a number of other federal laws that protect against employment discrimination. While there are many laws that include an element of employment-related protection, two of the most commonly used laws are the Family Medical Leave Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

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Some of the additional federal employment laws are:

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Conclusion

While both the laws we have just discussed and those enforced by the EEOC protect public, private, and nonprofit employees, public employees also have additional protection under the Constitution. The Constitution protects federal employees from being denied a Constitutional right by their government employer. These protections do not apply to private or nonprofit sector employees. The Constitutional rights that are protected include: freedom of expression; freedom of association; equal protection under the law; privacy rights; and due process rights. With these protections come obligations as well; government employees are limited in the degree to which they are allowed to participate in politics.  Reference

Department of Labor. (2008). Your rights under USERRA (Links to an external site.) [PDF file size 438 KB]. Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/USERRA_Federal.pdf

ASSIGNMENTS:

M2D1: Case Study

A Muslim Woman’s Right to Wear a Head Scarf at Work

Please read the case study on page 107 in Pynes’s book entitled “A Muslim Woman’s Right to Wear a Head Scarf at Work.” After you have done so, answer the following questions from the book. Respond to the following:

· Do you agree with the city’s and the judge’s position? State your reasons.

· If Webb was not a sworn police officer, do you think there would be a problem accommodating her wearing of the khimar?

· Should organizations have policies in place in regard to the wearing of religious dress or symbols? If so, what should they be?

M2D2: Evaluating your Employer

For this exercise, please think of an employer you currently or previously worked for (note that they do not need to have been a public or nonprofit employer). Think about the policies or training programs in that organization that address equal employment opportunity.

Respond to the following:

· What was the most successful policy or training program? What made it successful?

· What was the least successful policy or training program? What could have been done to improve it?