Sample Case: Burger King & Sexual Harassment
On July 25, 2011 TSW Management, Inc. was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for sexual Harassment and retaliation against employees. TSW Management, the owner of several Burger King Restaurants was found guilty of subjecting female Employees to a hostile work environment and retaliation against whistleblowers. In the EEOC report (Case №2:11-CV-13220) (EEOC, 2011). The EEOC is responsible for filing charges of discrimination against employers in cases such as this. It is a process that must be done in stages. The filing is not complicated but must be done correctly and in adherence with certain laws in order to have the charge investigated properly. If an individual believes that he or she has been discriminated against at work because individual race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or other distinguishing characteristics, he or she can file a charge of discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the office through which all discrimination charges must be filed. The law requires that a person file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC before he or she can file a job discrimination lawsuit against your employer. In addition, there are time limits for filing a charge. In accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which protects employees from sexual harassment and from retaliation for complaining about illegal practices such as sexual harassment) the EEOC filed suit on behalf of the employees of TSW Management, Inc. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC is also seeking an injunction to prohibit the company from engaging in this type of discrimination in the future, as well as monetary relief on the behalf of the victims.
Lawsuits such these represent a large problem in society in that highlights discrimination and prejudice as still large pervasive problems. This type of lawsuit inhibits social change on one hand as it shows that many people practice discrimination and are willing to protect it through coercion and misuse of authority. This is evidenced by the retaliatory actions of the owner of the Burger King. On the other hand, there is an opportunity for social change as these cases show that the system does work and will not tolerate this type of behavior. This sets the tone for future companies.
Part of the problem with social change occurring is that prejudice and discrimination are pervasive throughout society. Whether one realizes it or not, he or she is prejudiced or biased in these matters to some degree. This has a profound effect on media and how we perceive these cases. For instance the EEOC Press Release defines this case in a manner in which shows the case to be a great victory, however, this is due to the fact that the agency is self-serving and by releasing these matters in this manner it justifies its actions and existence. For example, the EEOC uses the press release as a platform for promoting itself.
Excerpt from EEOC Report
While this statement is true the need to say it seems ridiculous and redundant. This is how agencies misuse press releases and media to justify their own ends by using public support. The press release should have stated the case and made clearer the laws that are in place for others to follow suit in similar situations.
There are several strategies for creating a multicultural work environment that can eliminate these forms of problems. First that diversity must enter the work place not through an ignorance of race, creed, or gender but instead through the unique stakeholder needs and opportunities for presented by these diverse backgrounds. In the late 1990’s IBM created eight task forces with each focused on a demographically diverse group such as Asians, gays, lesbians, and women (Cunningham and Green, 2007).
After 10 years the tasks forces created a model strategy for inclusion and building a harmonious multicultural work environment. This strategy includes,
(Cunningham and Green, 2007)
The task force discovered that the best course of action to increase diversity was to develop a diversity strategy within the overall organizational framework. In this manner inclusion is far reaching and excludes no areas of the company. By following initiatives such as this companies can remove the fear of discrimination charges and problems with sexual harassment. These strategies reflect the strength of diversity and the true value of multiculturalism when one views the incredible success of a company like IBM which has been a world leader in technology for decades and continues to grow worldwide. By building these strategies into the framework of the company, diversity and multiculturalism become a mechanism of the companies infrastructure and removes the risk of prejudice, bias and ultimately litigation.
Cunningham, D. Green, D. Diversity as a Competitive Strategy in the Workplace Journal of Practical Consulting, Vol. 1 Iss. 2, 2007, pp. 51–55
EEOC (2011) TSW Management, Inc. Sued by EEOC for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation PRESS RELEASE Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-25- 11.cfm