From the facts outlined in the case, does it appear that Suders was subjected to a hostile environment? Why or why not? That she was constructively discharged? Why or why not? Suders was subjected to a hostile environment. The sexual harassment acts committed by her co-employees who occupied a position higher than hers, were left unchecked and unaddressed by her employer. Suders reported her objections to the sexual harassment acts to her supervisor who did not bother to take a look at the veracity of Suders’ complaints.
On the part of the employer, it failed to clearly lay down the policy and guidelines as to the course of action that Suders could make in order to alleviate her predicament. The work environment was not conducive for Suders to perform what was expected of the position she was holding and this atmosphere worked to the disadvantage of Suders who had to quit work. Suders’ complaint was not properly addressed by the employer. She was only told to file a grievance complaint but a clear guideline as to how she would do the same was not also laid down for her.
The continuous denial of her right to a conducive work environment was tantamount to constructive discharge. The court decided that the employer has the obligation to show that an effective grievance procedure is in place to deal with sexual harassment cases and any employee’s failure to use these grievance procedures would be unreasonable. This is the spirit of the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense which may be rightfully claimed by any employer who can show proof of its compliance to the legal requirement of setting a grievance procedure in the workplace.
In the absence of the latter, an employer can be held liable for the consequences of its inaction when an employee is denied the opportunity to raise complaints against sexual harassment within the framework of employment policies and which would eventually lead to separation from employment. In such an extreme case, the employee who may be forced to leave work could rightfully claim against constructive discharge and hold the employer liable for damages. 2. There is a perception among some that affirmative action results in quotas and reverse discrimination.
Discuss the justification for affirmative action and whether affirmative action indeed results in quotas and reverse discrimination. Reverse discrimination is giving a certain privilege to a particular minority group which has been historically disadvantaged. Thus, the discrimination is reversed in the sense that the policy is meant to address the disadvantage by putting this minority group in the same level as the privileges of the majority or superior group through mechanisms which may only be enjoyed by the minority group.
In so doing, a certain quota is established in order to accommodate the minority group. This kind of arrangement is most common in educational institutions as regards the entry of minority groups to different colleges. Affirmative action is an initiative to provide non-quota programs whereby majority groups would have the same and equal privileges as minority groups in seeking admission to educational institutions. The basis of their entry is through certain standards and not by virtue of their historical or ethnical origins.
Unlike quotas which are based on gender or race, affirmative actions are based on set standards applicable to all who seek admission to any educational institution. Reverse discrimination like quotas is based on gender, ethnic, or historical criteria specially granted to a minority group in an effort to put them at par with the majority group. The latter is based on consideration of equity while quotas and affirmative actions are based on personal capability, qualifications, potentials, or competencies.