Companies have come to realize that Human Resource is key element to remaining competitive in the global advance and market towards their goals. Human Resource in Coca Cola Company is facing challenges of fighting racial discrimination in United States. . The issues that Coca-Cola is facing in relation to human resource are critical and more so threaten its survival. The paper discusses racial discrimination in the Coca-Cola Company. The paper analyzes the case study of Coca-Cola Company that dwells on racial discrimination. The recommendations to the problem are also highlighted at the end of the paper.
The lawsuit, case No. 1-98-cv-3679(RWS), was filed by Ingram, et al (plaintiff) against Coca-Cola Company. It was heard by District Court of Appeal of Florida. The case was presided by Judge Richard W. Story. The case involved racial discrimination in job evaluation, compensation and promotions. The plaintiffs were under the United States Civil Rights due to racial discrimination that was in the company. The plaintiff alleged that there was a substantial difference in payment and other benefits where the black-Americans were taken as an inferior party as far as benefits, promotions and remunerations were concerned. The blacks were allocated considerably lower positions. However, they were kept off important posts and positions such as marketing and finance. On the other hand, the defendant claimed that such allegations were untrue and they were just following their human resource policies: policies that had previously been agreed upon by the employees as well as the management. There were claims from the plaintiff on policies such as glass wall and glass ceiling which was used to unbroken black Americans from rising to prime positions and especially departments at intervals in the corporation. In the allegations the plaintiffs claimed that Coke Company failed to prevent, protect and cure this racial discrimination in the company (The Coke, 2012).
These allegations remain enjoyable refreshment for most. However its black workers produce beverages in a drain of racial discrimination. Black and Hispanic production staff at Coca-Cola area unit usually allotted to the foremost undesirable and physically dangerous positions and to tasks that area unit outside of their job descriptions (The Coke, 2012).
Meanwhile, the managers contravene the established rank system by giving higher jobs and a lot of overtime hours to white staff with less position than marginal staff. As many of the as many of the Petitioners have found golden opportunities for advancement and promotion at intervals in the company area unit in this is habitually biased against marginal staff (The Coke, 2012). Finally, the truck drivers among the Plaintiffs have had their hours below the belt restricted and prevented from operating during overtime, whereas white drivers don't need to face these issues. However the company will gain benefits together with its employees after striving to be premier and company diversity (The Coke, 2012). Therefore the company will realize and come into conclusion that diversity is an indispensable and fundamental value.
The court ordered both sides into intermediation. Parties and objectors were afforded the chance to present proof and be heard prior to ultimate consent of the settlement. The parties managed to reach an agreement on a Settlement-In-Principle. The court, having heard from both parties conducted a fair hearing approved and certified the settlement. The same case had previously been filed by an individual who was racially discriminated by Coca-Cola. The plaintiff sought relief for the social class to end the injustices and unfairness that were prevalent in the company. Plaintiff requested that compensatory damages be paid to act as a punitive measure to Coca-Cola. Additionally, the plaintiff later filed a second amended complaint and added more plaintiffs.
The court approved the settlement and ordered that Coca-Cola pays the agreed fine and a task force created to oversee the reformation of human resource policies at Coca-Cola. It was meant to promote and foster equal opportunities. The task recommendations were binding to both the plaintiff and respondent. Furthermore, Coca-Cola was ordered to make pay equity modifications to rectify any prevailing race-based injustices.
Analysis of the case
Courts are facing a great task of solving the challenges presented by the rapidly changing business environment. The business environment have become more volatile due to economic crises and changing markets. Employees’ needs and preferences are continuously becoming advanced and keep on changing. Furthermore, the workforce is becoming complicated and diversified. The racial discrimination issue that Coca-Cola is facing is critical and more so threatens its survival (Guest, 2007). Eventually, coca cola may be unable to handle its human resources and this is destined to bring about inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
This case fully relates to the discussions that are discussed in this course. In the contemporary society and business world in general, managers should and must learn how to manage diverse employees. Skin color should not in any way be used to discriminate employees. Salaries, performance appraisal, promotions, demotions or hiring should not be based on gender and rather but should rather be based an employee’s performance, knowledge and experience.
Though Coca-Cola agreed to pay $192 million as compensation to the discriminated employees, the compensation is still low as compared to the amount of emotional, psychological and economic suffering that the employees underwent. There is a lot of partiality and inaccuracies in the case. The plaintiff was not given due consideration when settling on the decision to set up a panel to oversee that Coca-Cola complies with the terms of the agreement should have involved the employees too since they are the ones who directly writhed from the case presented. It is violating important human rights that are clearly demystified by the universal doctrine of human rights. It should exercise equality to all its employees if at all it wants to reap maximally from them.
The company has failed to create a great place where future employees will desire to work from. The lack of open deliberations with employees, offering rewards to employees for attainments and amazement might be among the fundamental factors that derails the company’s success. The outside panel mutually nominated by Coca-Cola and the litigants’ lawyers and ratified by the court to revise the company’s personnel policy may as well not be effective since it may contain individuals who have self-interests in the company (Guest, 2007). Additionally, the panel might be influenced by the strong management of the company.
The Coca-Cola Company’s global diversity mission is that it will reflect the rich diversity of the marketplace they serve and will recognize the diversity of employees in its leadership. However, going by the case, the company has greatly failed in achieving this. It has to consider the professional ethics and avoid any complications or unfairness that might not augur well for the company’s future. Though the company actually assumed that nothing could be gained from the scathing and protracted legal battle, it could be the only way to bring to an end the retrogressive ‘racial discrimination’ culture at the workplace and all employees treated equally.
I learnt that racial discrimination leads to a lower performance in the company. The performance levels will be affected and profits generation may be difficult to be achieved (Guest, 2007). The aspect in those conflicts will always arise during discrimination means that the workplace environment will be hostile and will not favor a peaceful coexistence in the company. However, the company has to strive to comply with the terms of the agreement or else it will tarnish its image.
The task force can come up with the following recommendations:
- Introduce education lessons subject to all managers and employees to induce diversity education that will play the role of providing strategic training knowledge to the entire management.
- The need to incorporate diversity concepts in the HR practice and this includes coaching, performance management, interviewing and selection. The performance appraisal is expected to indicate the individual ratings in their places of work and the Task Force is expected to pay attention to the design and implementation of Coca-Cola company metrics.
- The company’s diversity need to be linked in line with the goals and vision of the company and the whole team of employees must be made to understand the efforts that lies within diversity and are not only covering the HR issues. The task force will be expected to ensure that this is closely followed to the letter
- There is need to introduce in-house workshops to the employees. These can include training sessions that will aim at creating awareness and sensitivity about racial discrimination. The strategy will help the workforce to accommodate for diversity in their areas of operation. The atmosphere that always promotes racial discrimination will be eliminated and all employees will respect people’s ideas and opinions regardless of their race, color and ethnicity.
- Courts should also stand firm and formulate strong policies that will guard employees against any form of discrimination. Punitive laws should be imposed against any organizations that practice racial discrimination.
- Training employees on employment laws and regulations will help the Coca-Cola Company to reduce the cases of racial discrimination. When the employees are in a position to understand all the laws governing their work, they will not be in the frontline to promote racial discrimination. The employment laws are against racial discrimination and anybody who will undermine them will be subjected to the hands of law.
- The employees who racially abuse their counterparts must be forced to compensate the affected by imposing huge penalties. Any instances where individuals are exposed to racist jokes or disparaging remarks should be avoided. The individuals who are against following the regulations must be fined so that it can be a lesson to the rest. There is a growing concern to establish individuals task forces where the employees are brought together to discuss issues surrounding diversity in their areas of operation.
In a nutshell, racial discrimination really affects the fundamental rights within the constitution. The aspect of racial discrimination seems to victimize a particular target to favor the superior ones. There is need for people to respect diversity among individuals so that the racial cases can be done away with. When racial profiling is respected, employees will leave under fear and conditions will force them to respect the employment laws (Rubin, & Crisp, 2010). This will eradicate racial discrimination in the Coca-Cola Company and the workforce will leave in harmony therefore improving performance in the company.
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke | Heroic Workers, The Coke 16 Fight Back Against Racial Discrimination. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://killercoke.org/nl121022.php
Guest, D. E. (2007). Human resource management and performance: a review and research agenda. International Journal of Human Resource Management. Doi:10.1080/095851997341630.
Rubin, M., Paolini, S., & Crisp, R. J. (2010). A processing fluency explanation of bias against migrants. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 21-28. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.09.006
The Coke 16′s fight against racial discrimination in Coca-Cola plants | Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://griid.org/2012/05/18/the-coke-16s-fight-against-racial-discrimination-in-coca-cola-plants/