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Laura Learns A Lesson

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1. What evidence is there that employment discrimination has taken place in this selection process?

Organizations have to have clear legal obligations to provide for equal employment opportunity in the workplace. Unfortunately, where Laura works, the company did not introduce maternity leave for women who have babies. They have to put resignation when they are pregnant, which is unfair to Molly.

I do not think gender as discrimination, which played a part in this selection process.

Laura was not discriminated against Ben’s gender, so as to refuse to point him as the receptionist. Laura as the supervisor, she was insisted to replace Molly with Amy before the selection process.

She did not take the selection process seriously, did not give equal opportunities to other colleague.

2. Who would you have put on the selection panel to ensure the best selection result? Why?

HR manager should be put on the selection panel to ensure the best selection result. He as the professional HR specialist would have more experiences and be more objective to select best employee. He could make sure that selection is not biased, and to provide an external perspective to the interview process.

3. How could the panel have been more objective in distinguishing the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate?

Laura has been subjective in choosing best candidate, she has influenced other interviewers’ decision making before the panel discussion who is the best for the vacancy. The panel should consist other supervisors from other sections. Make sure that at least one interviewer is an “independent” whose role is to ensure that selection is not biased, and to provide an external perspective to the interview process.

4. Discuss the validity and reliability of the selection test used in this selection process.

Validity in selection refers to how well the selection technique used measures what it claims to measure (Dessler, Griffiths et al, 2004). The term “validity” often refers to that the tests are job related. The tests that Laura downloaded from internet: typing test, numeracy test and personality test were very much related to the job vacancy- receptionist. I could say that the tests were valid predictor of subsequent performance on the job.

Reliability is the second important characteristic of selection techniques, it refers to the consistency of scores obtained by the same person when retested with an identical ore equivalent test (Dessler, Griffiths et al, 2004). I doubt that the tests score would be consistent if Laura downloads different typing, numeracy and personality tests. All tests Laura gained from internet were not specifically designed for her job vacancy. In conclusion, the selection tests were valid, but unreliable.

5. Identify the formal and informal events relating to the selection process in this case.

The selection process varies from organization to another. What I could identify formal:

* Advertised job vacancy externally

* Job analysed

* Panel interview formed

* Interview tests prepared

* Interview questions prepared based on selection criteria


* Interviewers were from same section

* Interview tests were downloaded from internet, rather than newly designed based on the job description and specification

* Lack of panel discussion

* Personal bias made from Laura, who insisted to have Amy

* No background investigations for candidates

6. What impressions does this selection process give to future internal and external job applicants?

Both internal and external job applicants would perceive that this organization has not provided equal employment opportunity in the workplace.

The selection process is biased based on supervisors’ personal preferences. As well as discrimination against man to apply the receptionist.

7. What should the HR Department do to improve the selection process in the organization?

HR Department should reanalysis the job description and specification by ask what supervisors’ needs. Establish what information and answers they wish to get through the interview. HR department should set proper interview structure, process in the future, and select different interviewers from different functional units; mostly important is to train them. Monitor the interview process, eliminate personal bias and discriminate practices. Check references before offer a job. Lastly, HR Department must introduce equal employment opportunity into workplace, to avoid any legal complaint.

8. How can the HR Department assess and address the claim that discrimination is systemic in the organization?

It is the HR manager’s responsibility to ensure that candidates are not discriminated against in employment. In Laura’s organization, what happened was systemic discrimination which often called unintentional discrimination. Laura was not intentionally discriminated against Ben’s gender, she only wanted to work with Amy. This caused her not interested in other candidates other than Amy.

Organization did not discriminate against female staff in taking a maternity leave. Even though, Molly afraid to apply for the maternity leave and no one ever did, but there were not company rules said they can’t.

HR Department should take some affirmative actions to achieve qual employment opportunities for groups discriminated against or suffering disadvantage in the workplace. For examples: publish new policy and provide maternity leaves for female staffs, review the selection process, hiring some male staffs in the workplace.

9. What lessons about the selection process do you think Laura can gain from this experience?

If I was Laura, I would learn not to be discriminate against male receptionist. Try to design the interview tests by self, not downloaded directly from internet. Listen what other interviewers would say about candidates. Set panel interviewers with equal number of genders.

Do not make decision who to hire before the interview, it would influence my decision making.

Beware of smart people, find a good excuse to dismiss them, or otherwise they could take legal action to against you.


Dessler Garry, Griffiths John, Lloyd-Walke Beverley r and Williams Andrew. (2004). Human Resource Management 2e. Prentice Hall, NSW

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