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Workplace Discrimination in Healthcare: Understanding Legal and Ethical Requirements

Imagine you are a nurse executive preparing for a workgroup meeting that will focus on the topic of workplace discrimination. You are creating a PowerPoint presentation for fellow nurse executives that explains legal and ethical issues in understanding and reporting workplace discrimination in a healthcare setting as well as responding to immediate problems and avoiding them in the future. Follow these steps to research the topic of workplace discrimination and develop your presentation.

To prepare:

  • Draw on resources that explain employment law, ethics, and discrimination.
  • In particular, review the EEOC website for the following:
    • Trends on reporting of discrimination in organizations (for example, browse the “Newsroom” and “Laws, Regulations, Guidance & MOUs” sections to spot trends)
    • Information on the types of discrimination reported to the EEOC
    • Data on discrimination charges by type (e.g., age, disability, pregnancy, etc.) and the basis of the charge (e.g., race, religion, retaliation, disability) 
    • Process for filing a complaint and protections against retaliation
  • Consider implications for healthcare organizations in the EEOC findings.
  • Consider the legal and ethical role of nurse executives in responding to cases of discrimination and in setting and enforcing policies to avoid discriminatory behavior.
  • Also consider related issues and threats that might be addressed in your presentation.


Based on your research, in 8–10 slides, plus title and reference slides, include the following:

  1. Explain basic legal and ethical terms and guidelines that pertain to the topic of workplace discrimination.
  2. Summarize your findings from the EEOC website, including types of discrimination and those most frequently charged, trends in reporting of discrimination, and implications for healthcare organizations in statistics and trends.
  3. Explain legal protections for employees with regard to discrimination in the workplace.
  4. Explain the role of nurse executives in reporting potential violations of employment law.
  5. Analyze potential ethical conflicts nurse executives may face in discrimination lawsuits.
  6. Explain recommendations for negotiating those ethical conflicts. Be specific and provide examples.
  7. Explain the role of nurse executives in preventing discriminatory practices in a healthcare setting and ways discrimination may be managed.
  8. Explain the role of nurse executives in setting or advocating for policies that protect healthcare employees from other types of threats in the healthcare workplace.


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