NURS 6221:Week 2: Legal, Regulatory, and Ethical Issues

Consider the following discrimination and harassment 2011 end-of-year statistics as cited by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

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  • Disability-Based Charges: 25,742 cases filed; over 103 million dollars distributed in monetary benefits (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Americans with Disabilities Act…,” n.d.)
  • Race-Based Charges: 35,395 cases filed; over 83 million dollars distributed in monetary benefits (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Race-Based Charges…,” n.d.)
  • Sexual Harassment Charges: 11,364 cases filed; over 52 million dollars distributed in monetary benefits (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Sexual Harrassment Charges…,” n.d.)

As these statistics demonstrate, workplaces across the United States continue to struggle with instituting effective anti-discrimination policies and creating harassment-free workplaces. As a nurse manager, what can you do to ensure equal opportunity and fair treatment for all employees in your health care setting? Preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace requires knowledge of legal and regulatory issues, as well as careful consideration of how, when, and why these situations may occur. While you are not expected to know the intricacies of the many laws, rules, and regulations that apply to human resource management, as a nurse manager, you must exercise judgment to know when and how to consult with human resource professionals.

This week, you explore employment discrimination and sexual harassment in today’s workplaces. You also examine the laws that protect individuals.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze Title VII legislation that protects classes of individuals from workplace discrimination
  • Evaluate strategies that may be used to mitigate workplace discrimination
  • Analyze the ramifications of sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Formulate action plans for mitigating and ameliorating behaviors that constitute sexual harassment

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Lussier, R. N., & Hendon, J. R. (2018). Human resource management: Functions, applications, & skill development (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Chapter 3, “The Legal Environment and Diversity Management” (pp. 74-111)Chapter 3 provides an in-depth overview of the laws that mandate equal employment opportunities in the workplace. The authors define discrimination and sexual harassment and explain how knowledgeable managers can detect and mitigate these behaviors in their workplaces.

Cogin, J., & Fish, A. (2009). Sexual harassment – A touchy subject for nurses. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 23(4), 442–462. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article describes a mixed-methods research study that was conducted to analyze the prevalence of sexual harassment in clinical settings. Findings indicated that patients and physicians are the primary instigators of sexual harassment. The article highlights ethical decision making and intervention techniques.

MacKusick, C. I., & Minick, P. (2010). Why are nurses leaving? Findings from an initial qualitative study on nursing attrition. Medsurg Nursing, 19(6), 335–340. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

For this study, the researchers interviewed nurses who decided to leave the profession after only a few years of service. Study participants commonly cited one or more of the following reasons for leaving: unfriendly workplace (i.e., bullying and/or sexual harassment), emotional distress, and fatigue and exhaustion. Participants shared authentic examples and feelings about each factor.

Vessey, J. A., DeMarco, R., & DiFazio, R. (2010). Bullying, harassment, and horizontal violence in the nursing workforce: The state of the science. Annual Review of Nursing Research, 28, 133–157. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Over the years, bullying, harassment, and horizontal violence (BHHV) among nurses has increased in health care settings. The authors of this article illustrate BHHV situations and solutions through the use of models and authentic examples.

Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Legal issues. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 16 minutes.

This week’s presenters explain how they use employment law to ensure legality of procedures that are used in their health care settings. The media piece highlights discussion of anti-discrimination legislation and the hiring process.

Consider your rights as an employee or job applicant. What do you know about the laws that prevent unfair treatment and discriminatory practices in the workplace?

Prior to 1964, employees and job applicants had few rights. Many employers used skin color, religion, or gender as a sole basis to hire or fire employees. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act aimed to protect employees from the prejudices of employers. In fact, after its passing it became the core foundation of workplace discrimination law because it protected five categories, or “classes,” of citizens from unfair employment practices. As time progressed, legislators supplemented Title VII with more anti-discrimination acts and policies. Today, employees or applicants who feel discriminated against due to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, or genetics can seek grounds for legal representation.

As a leader in the nursing field, you must take all necessary precautions to ensure that you and your unit, department, and/or organization adhere to the laws outlined and associated with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

To prepare

  • Review Chapter 3, “The Legal Environment and Diversity Management,” in the course text, Human Resource Management: Functions, Applications, & Skill Development. Examine how Title VII protects classes of employees across all organizations and professions.
  • Review this week’s media, “Legal Issues,” and the laws that address employment discrimination.
  • Conduct research to learn more about applicable laws and regulations pertaining to the protected class assigned by your Instructor.
  • Select one of the following options:
    • Option 1: Conduct research via the Walden Library and other scholarly sites (such as the ones listed below) to locate an authentic discrimination case involving the protected class that you were assigned.
    • Option 2: Recall an instance of discrimination you have personally experienced or witnessed related to your assigned protected class. Consider the events leading up to and the resolution of this instance.

    Note: The case/instance that you choose for this Discussion may be from an organization in any field (not just health care) and must have occurred within the last 10 years.

  • Once you have selected your option and case/instance, reflect upon the following questions:
    • What legal issues (i.e., Title VII and other applicable laws) were relevant to this case or instance?
    • What strategies would you propose to prevent a similar situation from occurring in your unit, department, or organization?


Cornell University Law School. (n.d.). Legal Information Institute. Retrieved September 21, 2012 from

Search for recent Supreme Court decisions on employment discrimination. Enter your assigned Title VII protected class into the search bar to access court cases by topic.

Equal Employment Advisory Council. (2012). Amicus activity. Retrieved from

Use the categorized hyperlinks to access court cases by issue, area, court, or year.

U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). Search results. Retrieved September 21, 2012 from

To find recent employment discrimination decisions, include in your search terms the type of discrimination or the employment law and the word(s) “decisions” or “case decisions” (e.g., “racial discrimination decisions,” “gender discrimination decisions,” “American Disability Act (ADA) case decisions,” “Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) case decisions,” etc.)

Note: Before you submit your initial post, replace the subject line (“Week 2 Discussion”) with the protected class you were assigned and the case or instance you selected, for example, “Protected Class: Case”.

By Day 3

Post a brief summary of the discrimination case/instance you selected and how the events impacted the individual(s) and/or the work environment. Describe the key legal issues involved and explain how Title VII legislation applied. Discuss at least one strategy you would employ in an effort to mitigate this type of discrimination from occurring in your unit, department, or organization. Include the APA reference and a hyperlink to your case example (if applicable).

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Provide an additional strategy that could help your colleague mitigate discrimination issues in his or her health care setting.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.



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