Silvia Garcia, a black woman, applied for a job at a small company. One question on the application form was “Who else lives at your home address?” Ms. Garcia did not answer this question. She left the space blank.
The owner of the company, Jeff Erler, was a very religious man. He had started the company himself and felt that his employees were like his extended family. Mr. Erler interviewed Ms. Garcia personally. He noticed that she had marked “single” on her application and was surprised that she was not married at her age. When he mentioned this to her, she just laughed and did not comment. He decided that she was a very nice woman. He also needed to hire members of minorities, so he hired her.
Ms. Garcia did very well in the company. In a few months she got a raise and was happy with the additional money. However, seven months after Mr. Erler hired her, he overheard a conversation in the cafeteria. Two other workers were talking about her and “the guy she’s living with”.
Mr. Erler called Ms. Garcia into his office that afternoon. He questioned her about her living situation and she admitted that she was living with her boyfriend. Mr. Erler told her that he was very sorry, but he did not want immoral people to work in his company. At first, she could not believe that Mr. Erler was serious. She told him that he had no right to call her immoral because she was living with her boyfriend. She said that as long as she was a good worker, her personal life was her own business and that he could not make judgments about it. Mr. Erler fired Ms. Garcia.
Exercise 1. Read each of the following sentences carefully to determine whether each is true (T), false (F), or impossible to know (ITK).
1. _____ Ms. Garcia was a member of a minority group.
2. _____ When Ms. Garcia applied for the job, she lived with her boyfriend.
3. _____ Ms. Garcia was not a good worker.
4. _____ Mr. Erler was a religious man.
5. _____ All Mr. Erler’s employees were religious.
6. ______ Ms. Garcia’s boyfriend worked in the same company.
7. _____ No one at the company expect Mr. Erler knew that Ms. Garcia was living with someone.
8. _____ Ms. Garcia told Mr. Erler that she was not living with her boyfriend.
9. _____ Ms. Garcia was thirty years old.
10. _____ Ms. Garcia lost her job at Mr. Erler’s company.
Exercise 2. Circle the letter of the words with the same meaning as the underlined words.
1. Who else lives at this address?
a. related b. in addition c. only
2. The page was blank.
a. empty b. written c. full
3. Leave a space between the lines of our compositions.
a. meaning b. certain area c. sentence
4. I applied for a loan at the bank.
a. questioned b. gave money c. tried to get
5. A politician often says “No comment”.
a. I have nothing to say b. I don’t know
c. Don’t talk to me
6. Our office hired someone just yesterday.
a. fired b. gave more money to c. gave a job to
7. I spoke with the director personally.
a. myself b. quickly c. immediately
8. Her personal life is very interesting.
a. social b. private c. secret
9. If he steals money from poor people, he is immoral.
a. rich b. reserved c. without values
10. I need a raise. I cannot support myself with this salary.
a. job b. higher pay for the same job
c. vacation with more money
Exercise 3. Reread the information about Silvia Garcia and Jeff Erler. Then answer the following questions and share your ideas with the class.
1. What company did Silvia apply for a job at?
2. What question on the application form didn’t she answer? Why?
3. What kind of person was the owner of the company?
4. Why did he hire her?
5. Did she succeed in doing her job?
6. Why did Mr. Erler fire her after all?
7. Was it his business to judge her personal life?
8. What do you think Ms. Garcia does next?
- collects unemployment insurance?
- looks for another job?
- goes to see a lawyer?
9. Do you think that Mr. Erler was fair to Ms. Garcia?
10. Do you think that Mr. Erler did anything illegal when he fired her?
11. Did Mr. Erler discriminate against her because of: