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Safe Working Environments Essay

1662 words - 7 pages

It is very critical to establish a non-discriminatory environment at any institution or organization. People are afforded protection at the local, provincial, and federal government levels with specific laws which prohibit discrimination abuses and enforce current laws. Organizations must take specific steps to address diversity issues to protect those within them. Many institutions and organizations have taken comprehensive steps to prevent discrimination and harassment by developing specific departments and/or programs addressing diversity issues. Diversity programs and departments seek to focus the entire organization toward meeting diversity initiatives. However, despite these programs, ...view middle of the document...

The following dispute is between a racialized person and a person with a disability. A hearing impaired student is in a class in his final year of college with a professor of Sikh background. The professor has a thick beard and speaks with a heavy accent. The student relies on reading lips to understand people and does not prefer to depend on a sign language interpreter or a note taker. However, said student is having trouble in this class because he is finding it difficult to read the professor's lips due to the accent and the beard. The students requested the help of the program chair and asked if it is possible for another professor to teach the course or one that can be available for him privately. The chair asked the students if he could make an exception and use the help of a note taker or a sign language interpreter which could be arranged. However, the student refused and claimed that this is a failure to accommodate and an infringement of his rights. He threatened to file a complaint with the discrimination and harassment prevention office at the college. The chair then asked the professor if it would be possible to shave his beard and speak slower for this semester only. The professor refused saying that his beard was part of his religion and asking him to shave it is violating his freedom of religious expression and that he would proceed to file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission if it is necessary.This is a case of different human rights that are both valid but that clash with each other. There is a risk of violating someone's human rights at the expense of another. The chair cannot ask the professor to ignore his religious practices on account of the student but at the same time the institution has a duty to accommodate the student because he is a person with a disability.Employment Equity is a term applied to the Canadian program for achieving a balanced and integrated workforce that reflects the diversity of our society, and provides for both equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes. Employment equity includes eliminating employment barriers for the four groups namely women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of a visible minority group. Whether referred to as affirmative action, compensatory preferences or preferential policy, employment equity programs all over the world are basically systems of government mandated preferential policies toward government-designated groups. This also means that an employee cannot be asked to do something that does against his religious beliefs of dismiss him for any beliefs or actions related to religion or race (Agocs & Burr, 1996).However, there are also laws in place that protect the rights of people with disabilities. Such laws are enacted within organizations, institutions, and public places and there is a duty to accommodate people with disabilities (Charlton 2000). The duty to accommodate refers to the obligation of an employer or service...

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