Thursday, April 15, 2010

No Discrimination Based on Cultural Characteristics

In today's business society, we hear people mention buzz words like "corporate culture" or just plain "culture." Maybe we're conspiracy theorists, but many Blacks feel the word "culture" is just code for talking about the good old boy's network (read: White status quo).

I've heard from several Black people, this year, that have met with White interviewers who have used the dreaded "c" word. These interviewees felt the White interviewers went out of their way to announce that their company had a "culture" they liked and did not want to disrupt. What stood out for the Black folks who heard this is that these "culture" comments were made by those who did the hiring at small companies with few, one or no Black employees. So, the word "culture" stood out tremendously. It was almost like having someone wave a "Do not Enter" sign in from them.

Where does the EEOC come down on this culture issue?

Well, Title VII prohibits employment discrimination against a person because of cultural characteristics often linked to race or ethnicity, such as a person’s name, cultural dress and grooming practices, or accent or manner of speech.

For example, an employment decision based on a person having a so-called “Black accent,” or “sounding White,” violates Title VII if the accent or manner of speech does not materially interfere with the ability to perform job duties.

According to law, it's all about whether or not you can do your darn job! That's what employers pay people to do, isn't it?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are overreacting. I've heard the "culture" point with every company I've ever worked with. At the firm I work for, everyone talks about sports and heads for a drink during happy hours. You don't have to, but you are the odd man out if you don't. And frankly, if you don't like beer and hoops, you might not like the company of your co-workers. That is what culture means. Don't read too much into it.

10:12 AM  

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