Chapter 11 MANAGING THE DIVERSE WORKFORCE

Chapter 11 MANAGING THE DIVERSE WORKFORCE - Chapter 11 -...

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Chapter 11 MANAGING THE DIVERSE WORKFORCE KEY STUDENT QUESTIONS Students are very much interested in diversity, but they have little patience with the standard “diversity is a good thing” lecture. Minority students are trying to come to grips with how they can succeed in an environment that may be hostile to them, and non-minorities often feel left out of diversity efforts. These feelings are reflected in the student questions below: 1. “Do I have an equal chance to get a job in the U.S. if my English isn’t as good as a native speaker’s?” . 2. “How can a woman succeed in a male-dominated industry?” 3. “People say that everyone is equal in the United States and anyone can be anything. It is true because there are laws of discrimination against minorities. But if there were no laws against discrimination would the companies treat all the employees the same regardless of their culture or skin color?” 4. “Do the materials we are learning in this class apply to another culture or country?” Answers to Student Questions 1. While there are no laws that prohibit discrimination based on whether or not a person speaks English, many court decisions have ruled that language discrimination is the same as discrimination based on race or national origin (for example, Hernandez v. New York.) Generally, “speak English only” policies are illegal under the Civil Rights Act unless justified by business necessity. While each case is evaluated separately, courts typically find that “speak English only” policies are illegal when they are applied to employees who can speak no English, or if they create a hostile work environment for employees of different national origins. 1 The law aside, whether or not you can succeed without speaking English depends on your customer base. If all of your customers speak English, and you do not, it will be difficult to create a successful business. On the other hand, the popularity of Chinese and Spanish telephone directories and television stations in the United States attests to the fact that many businesses get ahead by seeking out and servicing niche markets. Customers in these markets may not speak English at all, and being able to work with them in their native tongue is a huge advantage. 2. Women succeed in male-dominated industries by attending to their business. A glance at Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” shows that women at the top do the same things that men at the top do. For example, Meg Whitman, CEO of Ebay has “swiftly fixed any problems, has faithfully tried to week out the fakes on her site, and has posted a consistent flow of profits.” 2 1 ACLU of Northern California, “Language Rights.” Online at http://www.aclunc.org/language/lang- report.html . 2
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This note was uploaded on 11/05/2009 for the course MGMT MGMT 330J taught by Professor Kinbonine during the Spring '09 term at Columbia College.

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Chapter 11 MANAGING THE DIVERSE WORKFORCE - Chapter 11 -...

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