The Court & discrimination

As different venues were created to develop affirmative action, the Supreme Court began to transform the effectiveness of employment discrimination law. In 1971, in Griggs v. Duke Power, the U. S. Supreme Court approved a statistical approach to discrimination law. From 1977 to 1982, there were three prime reverse discrimination cases. The three cases were: (1) "Regents of the University of the California v.

Bakke (1978) – the Court tried to compromise on the issue of reverse discrimination by invalidating an absolute racial quota while approving the principle of racial clarification. (2) United Steelworkers of America v. Weber (1979) – an employment quota under Title VII was upheld. (3) Fullilove v. Klutznick (1980) – it affirmed minority set-asides in public contracting authorized by Congress. " (Belz, 1991) Any momentum gained by the implementation of minorities in the workforce inevitably caused an uproar with whites.

By the opposition of different practices of affirmative action; along with endeavors that promoted affirmative action; the foundation of affirmative action was being defined on a broader judicial scope. There are many interesting arguments for and against affirmative action. Sociologist Louis P. Pojman has very substantial arguments respecting both sides. Some arguments "for" are: "need for role models; the need of breaking the stereotypes; equal results argument; the compensation argument; compensation from those who innocently benefited from past injustice; and the diversity argument.

" While some "con" arguments are: "affirmative action requires discrimination against a different group; affirmative action perpetuates the victimization syndrome; affirmative action encourages mediocrity and incompetence; affirmative action policies unjustly shift the burden of proof; an argument from merit; the slippery slope; and the mounting evidence against the success of affirmative action. " (Beckwith and Jones, 1997) Most arguments are self-explanatory. However, it might be noteworthy to define some of them.

In Need for Role Models, it would benefit and possibly motivate a person of a certain racial or sexual type if he or she would see the same type of employee in any highlighted occupational position. The Equal Results Argument contends that "on a fair playing field the same proportion from every race and gender and ethnic group would attain to the highest positions in every area of endeavor. " (Beckwith and Jones, 1997) However, a converse argument can be mentioned – if specific proportions of races and genders contribute and excel in certain professions, would that proportion have to be decreased solely for the purpose to satisfy a quota?

While the Compensation Argument could be considered as a fundamental purpose for establishing affirmative action – for all the wrongs that were inflicted to any minorities that couldn't achieve a desired occupational status in the past. Yet this notion poses as a hindrance when the Slippery Slope argument is taken into consideration. The slippery slope refers to the idea of the absence of any limitations on affirmative action; because if there are not any limitations, when or how will victims of quota-discrimination become compensated by an alternative method of affirmative action?

The major argument against affirmative action would have to be the Argument from Merit – meaning, any position should only be awarded by those that are best qualified. Many derivative arguments can arise from all that were already mentioned. However, a respectable common ground is difficult to ascertain – since most arguments of "pro" and "con" strive for compliance to a specific sector of races and genders. "In the context of affirmative action, racial classifications must be justified by a compelling state purpose, and the means chosen by the State to effectuate that purpose must be narrowly tailored. " (s! 3A]! 7c[level+case+citation!

3a]! 29/doc/{@1}/hit_headings/words=4/hits_only? ) This quote was derived from a court case which involved the issue of affirmative action. The case, Wygant v. Jackson Bd. of Ed. (1986), represented the issue of senior school teachers that needed to be laid off because of a necessary percentage of minority teachers that needed to be retained. Even though the action was meant to benefit minorities from previous injustices, the case was a XIVth Amendment issue ('equal protection clause'). Regardless of the outcome, the case was one of many examples for proponents in favor of eradicating affirmative programs to take initiative.

In the mid-1990's, Californian voters were introduced to the California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI). This would try to take its focus off from affirmative action – instead it would focus on 'preferential treatment' based on gender and race. The initiative stated: "Neither the State of California nor any of its political subdivisions or agents shall use race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as a criterion for either discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group in the operation of the State's system of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

" (Chavez, 1998) From this initiative, in 1996, the CCRI was given a ballot number – Proposition 209. This proposition would ban affirmative action methods as means of hiring prospect employees. However, the President at the time, Bill Clinton was against Prop. 209. He believed that discrimination that was ongoing; needed affirmative action as a necessary tool to satisfy California's diversity. Nevertheless, voters in favor of Prop. 209 won by a "9. 2 percent margin – 54. 6 percent to 45. 4 percent.

" (Chavez, 1998) Figures of interest in a Los Angeles Times exit poll revealed 74 percent African Americans, 76 percent Latinos, and 61 percent Asians all voted against Prop. 209. Meanwhile, 63 percent of white males supported Prop. 209. Another side note, according to the Voter News Service Poll, revealed that 58 percent of white women compared with 66 percent of white men had supported Prop. 209. The significant number of votes by those considered as minorities showed that there was still a need for affirmative action – while the numbers relating to whites were not significantly high, yet still leaned towards abolishing affirmative action.

A great upheaval resulted from the outcome of Proposition 209 voting — when the issue of the XIVth Amendment was presented by concluding court decisions. In 1997, the House Judiciary Committee killed federal legislation to end affirmative action. The resulting example of the discrepancies within the vast diverse population of California evinces that great measures need to be achieved to satisfy our complex culture. In relation to all the states that comprise the American labor force, a sense of uniformity needs to be achieved in order for the diversity to prosper.

With respect to Cornelius Grove and Willa Hallowell, both intercultural consultants, "cross-cultural differences are hindering day-to-day communications among workers. The misunderstanding lies in the differences between high-context and low-context cultures. " (http://web2. infotrac. galegroup. com/itw/infomark/871/42/40181077w2/purl=rc1_ITOF) Both Grove and Howell consider the United States as an example of a low-context culture.

Within this culture, "mutual expectations are less accurate, meaning must be made explicit, practical outcomes are emphasized, and individual self-reliance is common. In comparison to a high-context culture, like Japan, discussions within groups are very wide ranging, mutual expectations are quite accurate, meanings may be conveyed indirectly, and relationships and processes take precedence over self-reliance" (same as previous INTERNET source) The vast differences between these two cultures convey miscommunications between workers.

This extreme comparison might seem somewhat off tangent to the issue of affirmative action – yet it is something to take into great consideration because of the goals the United States of America must set forth and achieve; not only to unify a satisfied diverse workforce, but to make it productive in a fair manner appropriate to all citizens. The advancement of the U. S. workforce has a great deal of contingency not only from male labor; but female labor just as well. With that in mind, the term feminism becomes evident — "the doctrine that favors more rights and activities for women in their economic, social, political, and private lives.

" (Crow, 2000) Any movement to 'secure these rights' also fall within the context of feminism. There is a growing struggle for equality between men and women in the workplace. In the late 1990's, "seven out of every ten women in America were employed full-time. " (Mass, 1998) Many issues pertaining to women arise when the idea of a fair working environment is considered. Such issues are discrimination in hiring practices, wage disparity, hindered advancement, and sexual harassment. The roles women had in the workforce throughout history tremendously evolved.

As far back as the early 1900's, women that didn't work at home would work as cooks, maids, and laundresses in other people's homes. Other possible forms of employment were teachers, salesclerks, farm laborers, and nurses – or such jobs as rolling cigarettes, taking in laundry, or sewing clothes by the piece was work that was done at home. With the development of the typewriter and other office machines, women were beginning to work in offices as stenographers, bookkeepers, and secretaries. Even a more grueling option was available; as women worked 12 hour days in factories and sweatshops.

A great amount of job opportunities in the early 1900's did not offer advancement or promotion. Greater job opportunities were available for women during World War I. Jobs that were previously occupied by men were replaced by women. "Women accounted for more than 20 percent of the workers who manufactured airplanes and other machinery, food, printed materials, and rubber goods. They were hired by the thousands for government clerical services, and over one hundred thousand women worked on the railroads. " (Mass, 1998)

Women in Industry Service was created by the U. S.Department of Labor in order to monitor the conditions in which the women worked. Even though women were advancing in their earned salary rate, they still were far behind from the wages of men's earnings. After the war was over, women had to return to such jobs as garment manufacturing and food preparation. Women in the workforce declined even more during the depression of the 1930's. Many women lost their jobs. However, with a great progressive movement by the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (wife of then President Franklin D. Roosevelt), women were given greater attention to the inequities they suffered in the workforce.

The first woman cabinet member was appointed as secretary of labor, an ambassador to Denmark was named, and thousands of women were able to get jobs and scholarships when Roosevelt supported the African American women's movement. Millions of women were once again back in the labor force during World War II. Yet, as soon as the war ended, men would reoccupy many of the jobs women were forced to leave behind. Women's rights movements began to seek better working conditions and greater opportunities for women that were considered as undervalued and stuck in less desirable jobs.

The 1960's triggered this revolt, as the stereotypical "housewife" was becoming less of a desired reality. As progress escalated for women's rights, 1964 became the turning point for their equal opportunity movement. This was the same year that the foundation in which affirmative action was established – as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was introduced. It's noteworthy to mention that the grandiose impact of Title VII triggered a broad chain of recipients in the workforce. Women were included within the spectrum of equal opportunity along with minorities of race.

Therefore, Feminism was and is a tremendous component within any ideals associated with arguments "pro" or "con" for affirmative action. A very relevant term associated with women in the workforce is the glass ceiling. According to Wendy Mass, this term means "the hindrance of a woman's advancement or promotion by artificial boundaries is called 'hitting the glass ceiling'". (Mass, 1998) However, according to an argument from Behavioral Scientist Shannon L. Goodson, she contends that women "did not create the glass ceiling – the invisible barrier blamed for limiting the career prospects of females – but they help maintain it." (http://web2. infotrac. galegroup. com/itw/infomark/871/42/40181077w2/purl=rc1_ITOF)

She also states: "Women with similar education and experience still earn less than their male counterparts. Clearly, for women, there remains a missing link between performance and payoff. " (same as previous INTERNET source) Goodson adds another interesting point: "Women can be competent, assertive role models without becoming pinstriped male clones. But no one's going to do it for them, not even other women who have made it to the top.

If career women want to earn what they're worth, they have to learn to help themselves – and each other – shine more brightly in today's competitive work settings. " (same as previous INTERNET source) There are statistics that manifest the glass ceiling to some degree. "A 1992 survey revealed that out of 439 women who had advanced to executive levels, 93 percent had witnessed the 'glass ceiling' at some point during their careers. " (Mass, 1998)

A very relevant figure shows that "even though women account for nearly half the workforce, they hold only between 3 and 5 percent of the senior management-level positions, and only compose 0.5 percent of the boards of directors of the top U. S. corporations. In the decade between 1982 and 1992, the number of top female executives in the country's largest one thousand companies only increased by 4. 5 percent, but female vice presidents rose 9 percent, which shows that women are slowly moving up the ranks. " (Mass, 1998) Arguments on why the glass ceiling exists can be conveyed.

One simple matter is that women have not been in the workforce long enough. Historically, top management positions are filled within a twenty-five year period. Another idea to take into consideration is with respect to a U. S.census report – it "reveals that only 1. 6 percent of a man's work years are spent away from work compared with 14. 7 percent of a woman's. " (Mass, 1998) Therefore, promotions could be considered to be proportional to time spent at a workplace. Besides the fact that top managerial positions are generally held by men, an interesting figure evinces that "if women continue to move into top business ranks at the current rate, the numbers of male and female senior managers will not be equal until the year 2470. " (Mass, 1998) Another issue of debate in which women are implemented in the workforce is the idea of sexual harassment.

A definition of sexual harassment interpreted by the courts is "an abuse of power: When a person is made to feel vulnerable – personally and professionally – by a superior's sexual attention, she or he may be experiencing harassment – it is defined as economic intimidation. " (Guernsey, 1995) By recollecting the previous focus on workforce issues; they involved fair ways in which employment opportunities could be achieved and/or advanced. However, sexual harassment is an issue involving an impediment within a job that can create an inappropriate or unfair means of advancing in the workforce.

Sheila Kuel of the California Women's Law Center states: "Women are subjected to a barrage of sexual innuendo, pictures, and verbal abuse, and most don't have the vaguest idea that they don't have to put up with it. " (Guernsey, 1995) According to a survey from Working Women magazine, "three-quarters of firms surveyed had established anti-harassment policies, 90 percent have received complaints, and 64 percent admitted that most of the companies they heard were valid. In roughly 80 percent of the cases, the harasser was reprimanded and one in five was fired.

" (Guernsey, 1995) A famous incident in which a woman was sexually harassed, was when the Boston Herald sports reporter Lisa Olsen conducted an interview in the locker room of the New England Patriots football team. She alleged that three naked members of the Patriots gathered around her and made obscene remarks. Many arguments can arise from this incident; but the fact of the matter is that the issue of workplace tension of sexual harassment can result if standards are not set. Both females and males could have conflicting arguments as far as the scope of sexual harassment. A landmark 1991 ruling by the Ninth U.

S. District Court in California ruled "that the law covers any remark or behavior that a 'reasonable woman' would find to be a problem. " (Guernsey, 1995) It was also acknowledged from the case that the perceptions of women are greatly different than that of men on the issue of sexual harassment. To compliment that idea, a survey from Harvard Business Review showed that "24 percent of women and only 8 percent of men believed that if a man were to look intently at a female worker, it is harassment. " (Guernsey, 1995) Many greater levels of harassment can exist and pose problems in the workplace.

Men and women can both suffer the consequences from this issue. Such ideas as a man assuming a woman to make the coffee; or a woman expecting a man to lift heavy objects at a job both serve as examples of many forms of the issue that can be pondered upon. Even if a man or women were to comply with sexual favors to an employer in order to gain advancement is another extreme example to take in to consideration. Any method in which sexual harassment is used to hinder a working environment and/or used to unfairly promote an employee can be tied into the realm of arguments from all the diversity issues in the workplace discussed.

Men and women need a respectable and fair "playing-field" – and that could be said for all and every issue in which employees and employers strive for success. In retrospect, by incorporating all the issues relating to the workforce, it is very imperative that any progress made in developing a standard of decency, respectability, fairness, along with racial and gender unity, must all be used as a positive in which our society can become stronger. Injustices and mistakes from the past unfortunately served as a means in which many changes were necessary.

From those changes, many progressive movements and efforts relating to the scrutiny of discrimination caused a respective historical transcendence. The issues that were discussed will probably always remain as key arguments within the workforce. Either directly or indirectly, affirmative action, feminism, the glass ceiling, and sexual harassment will all pose as problems within our society. It's impossible to believe that a "perfect solution" will prevail.

Due to the tremendous diversity of the United States of America and especially that of California, it will take a long time for workforce problems to be tapered within a "satisfying" standard. However, with respect to history, as long as progress is made, society has the motive not only for improvement, but unification as well. It remains to be seen if a perfect harmony will exist in the workplace. Nevertheless, when continuing arguments come to their respective conclusions – in the form of future court decisions and voting results – then and only then can better answers be found.