Every individual has a right to equal opportunity in the workplace. This is regardless of their gender, religion, color, disability and many other factors. Diversity in the work place brings many benefits as people are able to learn from one another. Various laws have been enforced by the Federal Government to ensure that equal opportunity and diversity in the workplace is upheld. Some of these include the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA).
Many organizations today are working hard to ensure that they have a diversified workforce and that all equal opportunity requirements are met. However, many others are still not quite sure how they can get the kind of diversified workforce they need. There are four elements that must be addressed when it comes to workforce diversity. These include personality, the internal dimension of the person, which includes their ethnicity, age, race, gender, sexual orientation and physical ability to name a few.
The third element is the external dimension which takes religion, appearance, and marital status among others into consideration. Finally, the organizational dimension must be considered which has to take tenure, seniority and union affiliation among others, into account (Goetz, 2001). Over the years, the Nations of the world have had to face the need to make the necessary changes in their laws to ensure that diversity is maintained. The US has not been an exception and has had various laws enacted to ensure that diverse issues are addressed. One of these is the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
Women over the years have been paid much less than men. The men and women who founded the United States of America had escaped the UK in search of religious freedom. As such, the Bible was the foundation for many of the rules and laws that governed the society. The man was the head of the woman and was to rule over her according to the book of Genesis Chapter 3:16, and in their minds this meant that the man was superior to the woman However, the Bible contradicts this theory in 1 Timothy 5:18 by saying that “the worker deserves his wages” (Syswerda & Manikas-Foster, 1994).
As society became more liberal, women cried foul over this issue and in 1963 the Equal Pay Act was passed (Equal Pay, 2009). This act says that both men and women in the same organization should be paid the same amount for equal work done. This meant that if the job requires equal skill, responsibility and effort, the compensation for both men and women should be the same. This also takes into account the fact that they should be working under the same physical conditions and in the same organization (Equal Pay, 2009).
The reason it must be made clear in the policy manual is that there are those who would disagree for one reason or another. Making it clear in a manual means that everybody understands where the company stands on the matter. It also means that the organization is in line with the requirements of the law. Additionally, it is only fair that an equal amount of money be paid for equal work regardless of gender. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is another law that affects equal employment and diversity in the workplace.
This act addresses the issue of color, race and national origin and declares that no man or woman shall be excluded from participating in any benefit program, or be discriminated against such that they do not become a part of an activity or program that receives funding from the federal government (Civil Rights, 2009). Failure to comply means that the organization could have their grant refused or the assistance they have been receiving cut off with a full report of the events leading to this decision written and provided to the relevant committees in the House and Senate (Civil Rights, 2009).
Some of the things considered as unlawful employment include refusing to hire or discharging an individual based on sex, religion, national origin, race or color. Additionally, limiting people or classifying and segregating them on this basis so that they miss employment opportunities is also unlawful. If an employment agency refuses to refer someone for employment on that basis, it is also unlawful. Moreover, a labor organization cannot refuse anyone membership on the same basis, or expel someone or even classify and segregate them for reasons of gender, religion, color, race, national origin or sex (Civil Rights, 2009).