Realistic Job Preview Case Study
A. Facts of the Case
A psychologist employed by a consulting firm was retained by a company to design a selection procedure for a job that had traditionally been filled by males. The manager for the company acknowledged that the company had experienced significant problems with the few women who had expressed interest and been placed in this job and stated that he wanted the selection procedure to include a realistic job preview. The purpose of this preview was to accentuate the physical difficulties and unpleasantries of the work so that those who did pursue it would not prematurely quit the position. The manager emphasized the costs to the company of this turnover and stressed that it was not for him an issue of keeping women out of this job, just that statistically, as a group, women had not worked out.
The psychologist agreed to assist with the project and helped to script and produce a videotape to be shown as an early step in the selection process. Although the psychologist attempted to portray a somewhat balanced picture of the job, heavy editing by the company manager and his colleagues resulted in a film that exaggerated the features of the job likely to alienate female applicants.
The film began with a statement of the company’s equal employment policy and encouraged qualified candidates to apply for the job. However, the visual message contradicted the verbal message. For example, the film contained brief interviews with people who were unable to complete training, as well as those who completed training. Both of the training failures were female, while all three of the training successes were male. The film also showed men performing manual labor that appeared to require high levels of upper body strength, yet no mention was made that these activities were done only once or twice a month and that mechanical devices were available when assistance was needed. The film’s few portrayals of females performing the job showed women with exhausted, frustrated expressions in unpleasant surroundings such as heavy traffic and icy weather.
At least partly because of the videotape, the number of female applicants dropped significantly. Turnover in the job also declined.Question:
– Consider this following statement: “The manager emphasized the costs to the company of this turnover and stressed that it was not for him an issue of keeping women out of this job, just that statistically, as a group, women had not worked out”. Based on your understanding, do you think the firm is still guilty of discrimination?
-If you think they are guilty, which form of discrimination it is – disparate treatment, disparate impact, or reasonable accommodation? Why?
-If you think they are not guilty, please also explain why you think that is the case.
-Consider whether the firm was guilty of disparate treatment, disparate impact, or reasonable accommodation. Regardless of whether you think they are guilty or not, you need to provide reasoning/explanations for all three forms of discrimination.
– The firm was (or was not) guilty of disparate treatment because…
– The firm was (or was not) guilty of disparate impact because…
– The firm was (or was not) guilty of not providing reasonable accommodation because…
Hint: review the Comparison of Discrimination Theories.