Australian Catholic University Discrimination Within the Workplace Essay

Question Description

Consider Marissa and the other older staff’s treatment by Cory, the Food and Beverage Manager. Using a theoretical framework:

Identify the discrimination that Marissa faces
Outline organisation, management and worker responsibilities in this situation
Determine how matters should be handled, outlining what is being done correctly and incorrectly in the hotel
What could Marissa do to remedy the situation?
Look at :

Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth); Div 2, Sect 18.
– Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth); Subsection 3(1).
– Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
– Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth); Div 2, Sect 15.
– Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth); Div 1, Sect 14.
– Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW); Section 8
– Work Health and Safety Act 2011; Section 104.
Executive summary (300 words)

sets out the aim of the policy
explains why the policy was developed
lists who the policy applies to
sets out what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour
sets out the consequences of not complying with the policy
Introduction (100 words)

What’s are the discrimination issues
What’s the discrimination policies we’re looking at
Issues analysis (500 words)

3.1- Discrimination against Marissa
3.2- Discrimination against other staff
3.2(a)- Age
3.2(b)- Sex
Discussion of responsibilities (500 words)

A.Organisation responsibilities
B.Management responsibilities
C.Worker responsibilities (duty of care)
Practical application (how matters should be handled) (600 words)

What was done correctly what was done incorrectly?
How should it be handled?
Recommendation/Handling Matters
Appendices (not counted in the word length)

Only if required
Reference List

Critically analyse the case study using evidence from your research. It is expected that you would research broadly and at a minimum use 10 journal articles.

ALLLL Content, theory and resources are to be AUSTRALIAN BASED
Tags: workplace discrimination Sex Discrimination Act 1984 Age Discrimination Act 2004 Fair Work Act 2009 Work Health and Safety Act 2011
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Working in a five hotel This case study provides an in-depth account of how guest interaction is routinely experienced and enacted by staff employed by a major hotel. The hotel departments are: food and beverage (restaurants and bars); front of house, comprised of reception, switchboard, reservations and the concierge desk. The concierge desk incorporates ‘bellmen’ and ‘doormen’ and, as these job titles imply, there is a clear gender division of labour at the front office as men dominate the concierge desk positions. According to the concierge captain, Edward, one woman had worked in his section, but she had quit after a month as: ‘the bags are too heavy for them [women]’. In contrast, all the reservations staff and most reception and switchboard staff were women. In terms of age, the majority of receptionists were in their 20s. Younger people were also prominent in administration and reservations, but less so at the concierge desk. Staff from non-English speaking background held no customer contact positions front of house or in food and beverages, but dominated the room cleaner roles. Aggregate labour turnover at the hotel was below 20%, but was noticeably higher at the front of house and amongst cleaning staff at 50%, where the majority of staff were employed as casuals. With 18 months tenure, Mary was the longest serving reception worker. Some departments at the hotel were unionised and these included the concierge desk staff, employed on permanent full-time contracts, plus all the skilled back-of-house departments, i.e. chefs, accounts. Not all the departments were unionised, however, and the reception, reservations and most of the cleaning staff were non-unionised. ‘Taking care of the guests’ was a prominent theme with managers responsible for front-of-house areas, the needs of the customer came first. The Assistant Restaurant Manager explained how he would cover bar and restaurant shifts if they were short-staffed: ‘the important thing is that the customer shouldn’t suffer’. This prioritization of guests’ needs and wants emerged strongly around discussion of hiring policy and practices. Hiring front-of-house staff was primarily based upon ‘personality’, with experience, skills and qualifications considered as secondary criteria by managers. The emphasis was very much on taking care of the guests, as the General Manager explained: If you go to one of the interviews [for front-of-house staff] and you don’t come across as a positive pleasant likeable manner then we probably won’t hire you, so we definitely do want to have people who are outgoing, pleasant and understand that they’re. … I know people say all the time, ‘I like working with people’, and I correct them, and I say ‘well you’re not going to be working with people, you’re going to be working for people’, because our guests, when they come into the hotel, they expect you to take care of them, they don’t expect you to be their buddy. The emphasis was clearly placed away from developing relationships based on mutuality and friendship, as occurs in private life, towards an outward display of friendliness coupled with servitude. As the General Manager acknowledged, this servitude was based upon an asymmetrical power relationship: You have to have the attitude that you’re there to serve somebody. You’re not an equal, whether you like it or not, you’re still there to serve. Even as General Manager, I still have to do things that I would not think I should have to do as a general manager, but 1 the customer has to be taken care of, and if they want you to be that way, then that’s what you’ve got to do. The General Manager did not consider himself to be on an equal footing with the guests, but nevertheless had a large degree of status as a result of his position, reinforced by his gender. The asymmetrical nature of the relationship between guests and staff was far more pronounced in the case of routine front-of-house workers, especially women. In this relationship, the women workers were expected to control their own emotions in order to produce the required effect, one deemed conducive to good business. Management required them to be ‘professional’, even under provocation from aggressive guests. When asked what characteristics she sought in her staff, the Reception Manager replied: The person has to be pleasant, demonstrate professionalism, they cannot be shorttempered. Some guests can yell at you for no reason and you have to maintain a certain professionalism and composure. Maintaining ‘composure’ in the face of guest aggression was an important aspect of the job for reception staff. Amy, one of the reception staff with several years’ experience was very positive about her job and, despite saying that ‘we do get a lot of people that yell and scream’, was able not to take abuse personally: I like it [interacting with guests] because I’ve always been raised not to worry about people [laughs] being like, you know, when people get angry and start saying stuff I don’t take it personally. So it doesn’t bother me when I get those calls and they’re yelling ‘you don’t want my business’ or ‘you’ve done this’. I understand they need to vent and it’s not personal against me because they don’t know me. (Amy) Front-of-house staff had to display those personal qualities managers thought the guests wanted, i.e. pleasantness, cheerfulness, being ‘nice’. This could include providing service with a smile, with smiling being regarded as an important part of the customer service experience. The Food and Beverage Manager, Cory, had adopted a deliberate strategy of changing guest interaction practices in relation to servers on the late shift in the restaurant, including emphasizing the provision of service with a smile: I need people that are happy, always smiling. With a bit of training I can show staff (or “servers”) how we do our work here. I want someone who is happy and a smile goes a long way, even if the food tastes bad, that server can make your day. If you’d had a miserable night, you don’t want someone who looks miserable. (Cory, Food and Beverage Manager) As a consequence of the pressures to be seen to appear cheerful, some of the older servers had left and younger women and men had been hired. Marissa, a long serving fifty year old casual employee, said: I’ve worked here ten years. It’s hard physical work, running backwards and forwards to the kitchen all the shift, but it keeps me fit and I love providing exceptional service to our clients. I have the highest tips of any of the staff here, but this manager just keeps moving around my shifts and never rosters enough staff, so it’s nearly impossible to give good service. Cory, the Food and Beverage Manager, offered a different explanation: 2 Some of the staff that had been here a long time chose to leave. I didn’t want them to leave, just change their way of working, but they usually left by themselves. Although Cory, proclaimed that he has not ‘got anything against older people’, the demands made by management prioritised youth, because of the requirement for ‘flexibility’ and ‘liveliness’. Recently, Paul, a 24-year-old student worker, who had worked as wait staff at the hotel for three years, stepped in to help in the kitchen due to staff absences. Paul lost his glove when slicing meat and reached over to retrieve it. His arm was ripped open by the meat slicer. Previous inspections before the incident identified risks associated with the machine as the guard had been removed. The hotel had provided safety training only during compulsory induction – a video and pamphlets – and had not provided him with specific kitchen training. Management called an ambulance instantly, but Paul needed micro surgery and faced a long period of rehabilitation. The back-of-house workers were far more likely to be middle-aged. Furthermore, although looking ‘attractive’ was not a formal stipulation for women front office staff, it was the case that their physical appearance and presentation was a managerial priority. By contrast, the male concierge desk staff are not only older, but their appearance seemed to be less significant for management. In relation to gender divisions of labour at the front office, management expected the bellmen to help guests by providing information about the city, as well as moving their bags to their rooms. However, this guest interaction element involved the rational dissemination of information, often in list-like form: When the guests come in, we come to them right away. Most of the time, we know the guests, right away we approach them, offer our assistance, and then ask them how long they’ve been here in the city, how long they plan to stay, if they’ve been here before, and then, just to show to them that we’re open for more questions, “whatever they need to do.” (Bellman 2) Unlike the front desk staff, most of whom were women, the bellmen therefore did not routinely engage in placating guests’ unmet emotional needs. Even though the bellmen interacted with guests on a routine basis, this interaction took the form of offering information and advice in a friendly fashion rather than dealing with guests’ complaints. Managers monitor staff performance directly through ‘observing their one-on-one interaction with guests’ (Assistant Guest Services Manager) and via CCTV located in key areas of the hotel. In addition, staff are monitored indirectly via guests’ verbal and written comments, including the use of comment cards supplied by the hotel as well as guests sending in impromptu emails. This process is aided by the hotel’s requirement that staff wear name badges with photo identification. Surveillance by guests in this way effectively means that managers can survey and even control their workers at a distance via the medium of guests’ comments. 3 …

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