Your company is in need of someone to fill a new position. The spot calls for some very specific skills, education, and experience, but you happen to have an old friend who exactly fits the bill. In addition, he has mentioned to you that he feels it is time to make a change and has been contemplating looking for a new job. You give him a call and he says that he is very interested, so you call the head of the department in question and tell him about your friend. The department head is very excited and tells you to have him call for an interview. You do and everything seems fine. Several weeks pass and your friend calls you and asks if you have any idea what happened with the job. He interviewed and everything went well, but he never heard back and just learned that the position had been filled with someone who has no experience and a much different background. You call the department head and relay the question. After some hemming and hawing, the department head makes some vague statement about your friend not being a “good fit.” He was afraid that your friend’s “accent” might make it difficult for him to be understood, and he was concerned about his work ethic since he came from a cultural background that has a more “laidback” work ethic. You hang up and think about it. Your friend is from Jamaica and does have an accent and very relaxed personality, but is certainly not lazy. Then you realize that he is also a minority and that this particular department not only has no minority employees, but never has had one. What do you do? Is the department head being ethnocentric or prejudiced? Do you tell your friend what you were told? Do you call someone higher up and express your concerns? Do you do nothing at all?
Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The Civil Rights Act made companies to think about giving everyone an equal opportunity. Most companies recognize the importance of responsibility for compliance with the laws. If laws are in place, why do we continue to have discrimination at workplace?