Equal employment opportunity initiatives like policies, code of conduct provisions and training modules on discrimination, harassment and diversity have long been vital to domestic American employers. Now, in the global economy, the EEO issue has gone global. As US multinationals internationally align an ever-increasing list of human resources policies and “offerings,” their crossborder efforts at promoting fairness in the workplace have become increasingly vital.
In the US, a “zero tolerance” stand against illegal workplace discrimination and harassment is an aggressive, tough and compliant approach to assuring equal employment opportunities. And stateside, affirmatively to champion workplace diversity is important. Internationally, though, discrimination and harassment laws vary widely and in many countries diversity is not an issue. These differences complicate the EEO initiatives that American multinationals might otherwise be inclined to launch across global operations. Multinationals ready to fi ght discrimination/harassment and champion diversity on a global scale need subtlety, nuance, strategy and fi nesse. A one-size-fits-all American-style approach to EEO compliance does not work globally because American laws on discrimination, harassment and diversity are unique in the world. American employers’ homegrown EEO initiatives, when exported, can be culturally inappropriate and legally problematic.
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