Sex and Gender Discrimination and the Law Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Yes, I do agree with the court's decision. First of all, even if Vaughn's performance was unsatisfactory, she was not given the same opportunity as a white attorney would have had to rectify this, since her supervisors were explicitly told to withhold criticism on her performance reviews. This was not done for Vaughn's benefit but because of fears of litigation against the firm. Secondly, the "black matriarch" comment suggests that there may have been a hostile environment towards African-Americans at the firm and this may have colored perceptions of Vaughn's performance in general (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p.237).

Obviously, it would have been better if the racially-coded remark had never been made to Vaughn. However, rather than withholding information about her perceived unsatisfactory performance in her reviews, a good manager would have given Vaughn specific, targeted criticism so she could improve. Negative aspects of her performance should be documented according to concrete metrics. Of course, if these metrics were not available and the negative performance review was solely based upon subjective perceptions, this might indicate that discrimination rather than her performance was at issue. In other words, a clear and incontrovertible case should have been made that Vaughn's performance was lacking on paper so she could not deny this.

Q3. This indicates that there were serious, simmering issues regarding discrimination and resentment of African-Americans at the company. If a white supervisor had been seen meeting with white employees in her office, this would never have been commented upon as unusual. It was clear that the company saw its black employees as inherently different and 'other' than its white employees.

Case questions: Phillips

Q1. The policy was clearly instituted by the employer based upon the sexist assumption that women are inevitably the primary caretakers of their family. It was also based upon the assumption that women, when forced to choose between work and family commitments, can and must choose family as a priority. It also suggests that women are not the primary breadwinners of the family as presumably their husbands will be working while they are remaining home with their children, working part-time, or working less demanding occupations. Finally, there is a presumption that work and family life cannot be balanced and one parent must always be the primary caretaker.

Q2. Ensuring there can be an effective work-life balance would be ideal, including paid parental leave; options to work at home via telecommuting; flexible hours; and simply evaluating employees based upon work performance rather than hours logged at the office. If these options are not feasible, work expectations (if exceedingly arduous, as in corporate law) should be communicated to the employee at the job interview and job performance should be based upon meeting those expectations, regardless of the gender of the employee or whether he or…

Sources Used in Document:

Reference

Bennett -- Alexander, D. & Hartman, L. (2007), Employment law for business (5th ed.).

McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

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