Business Studies Essay Sample on Workplace Discrimination

Workplace Discrimination

Introduction

The current state of business across the globe requires all employers to be “equal opportunity employers.” Therefore, organizations need to pledge to applicants that all their employees are fairly treated regardless of their race, faith, gender, color, nationality, and physical or psychological disability. This pledge incorporates elements such as employment, transfers, promotions, remuneration, and provision of a conducive working environment. For organizations to attain such a working environment, they are obliged to offer training and resources that encourage workplace appreciation of diversity awareness and other concerns. One of the challenges still prevalent at workplaces is discrimination. Irrespective of the fact that many people acknowledge the notion that the current society has no place for discrimination, others have not realized that there are laws and regulations that outlaw the vice. This paper analyzes the discrimination at the workplace and offers solutions that need to be adopted in addressing the menace. The paper also addresses stereotypes as part of discrimination in workplace.

Discrimination

Many nations across the globe have established laws aimed at ensuring equal opportunities thereby creating a level playing field for all employees. This is an important step towards fighting discrimination in the society. The policies outline the way employees should be treated, paid, trained, and promoted. For instance, discrimination occurs when an employer treats some employees favorably as compared to the way they treat others (Lee, 2005). In addition, when an employee is unfairly treated by an employer compared to their colleagues undertaking the same job is categorized under the workplace discrimination. There has been a an extensive debate about workplace discrimination (Bilkis, Habib & Sharmin, 2010). Globally, several reasons attribute to cases of discrimination at the workplace including; gender, civil partnership, sexual orientation, disability, race, cultural background, economic class, age, and nationality among many other factors. In terms of gender, for instance, discrimination may be based on the employee’s sexual orientation or it may be biased against a certain gender. For example, it is discriminating for one to claim that expectant women need not to work extra hours since that is detrimental to their health.

Global forms of discrimination are constructed on the basis of ethnicity and religion where people from a certain religion are not treated the same way as others from another religion. Many countries have ratified laws to protect employees and employers from such acts of workplace discrimination. One common form of discrimination that has continued to become prevalent across the globe is the hostility against Muslims –also referred to as islamophobia. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the Muslim community has continued to suffer as a result of preconception and stereotypes, especially from the larger American population. Consequently, Muslims have suffered discrimination within public places such as schools and communities. The community’s clothing is similar to the perpetrators of the 9/11 terror attacks, particularly the Muslim veil. The world of terrorism is also closely associated with Muslim-dominated nations, hence making them to be discriminated against.

Types of Discrimination

            Direct Discrimination

This takes place when an individual is unfairly treated at the workplace based on what he/she lacks compared to others. For example, a qualified individual could be disregarded for an interview or promotion as a result of his/her skin color.

           

            Indirect Discrimination

            This occurs in conditions whereby some requirements at workplace have an unfair and negative implication to an individual or group of employees. For instance, an employer who requires all employees to commit to overtime work might unfairly disadvantages married women. This is because they have other responsibilities owed to their families such as preparing food for their children.

Harassment

This form of discrimination takes different forms of behavior that are grounded on the basis of gender, race, and sexual orientation among other elements. It involves a behavior or action that is aimed at upsetting or displeasing. Legally, harassment is a conduct that is proven as intimidating or disturbing. Nonetheless, not all cases of workplace harassment are considered illegal. Some might be distressing to some extent but do not amount to an illegal harassment action, for example, displaying sexual images or nicknaming employees.

            Victimization

This occurs when an employee’s concerns or complaints are applied as a basis for his/her separation hence treated unfairly.

            Stereotypes

This form of discrimination is an old concept and is in most instances confused with prejudices (Hernandez, 2010). Nonetheless, stereotypes are considered as consistent and abridged grouping notions, which are constructed on some preceding principles. Stereotypes can be positive or negative but the underlying factor is that they are biased and misleading. Stereotypes have various negative implications; for instance, they lead to justification of ill-created predispositions and make individuals unwilling to rethink about one’s arrogance and conduct towards a stereotyped group. Stereotypes are also detrimental since they discourage employees from aiming higher to succeed in their respective careers. Gender stereotyping is acknowledged as the most popular form of prejudice across the globe (Bilkis, Habib, & Sharmin, 2010). In most instances, gender stereotyping enhances wage discrimination. Therefore, it has a negative implication on women in the workplace environment.

According to a study by the US Department of Labor, in 2005, the average wage for women was about 81 percent that of men (U.S. Department of Labor, 2006). The survey does not represent different wages earned from different positions held by men and women. However, the study demonstrates that men earn more than women holding the same position as well as exact same job responsibilities. This form of discrimination is based on the issue of gender stereotypes. Furthermore, gender stereotyping also enhances higher chances of discrimination in hiring, dismissal, and promotional practices. Stereotypes hinder women from achieving promotions to powerful positions in workplace, which acts as a barrier to their career growth and development. For example, among the prevalent stereotypes held is that women are believed to not be strong enough, especially in solving problems. Besides, gender stereotyping also promotes cases of sexual harassment. Such types of behavior can lead to unease at the workplace, which could lead to the victims quitting or being fired from work. Gender stereotyping affects the victims’ general performance and mental wellbeing.

Cases of Workplace Discrimination

The current economic setup and business environment prohibits all forms of workplace discrimination despite its persistent prevalence (Fernandes & Alsaeed, 2014). Nonetheless, it is distressing that most of the reputable organizations are found culpable of engaging in activities that violate the laid down policies concerning discrimination based on race, color, and religion among other factors (Bobo & Fox, 2003). Various cases have been reported among organizations that have violated the laid down discrimination policies (Cornides, 2012). Some of the discriminating instances have been heartbreaking stories (Pizer, Sears,  Mallory & Hunter, 2011).  For instance, in the Rich Rogers organization, an employee who was battling stage 4 lung cancer qualified for promotion as result of his experience and academic credentials. However, he was unfairly treated, which was a direct discrimination due to his disability. He was treated unfairly because of his disability (United States District Court, 2013).

After revealing his condition to the organization’s management, Mr. Rogers was not only discriminated against but also forced to take a two-month leave to receive medical treatment. Furthermore, despite applying for several opportunities at the organization, which would have ensured promotions, he was never considered for any opening. At one point, Rodgers was directly told by the head of his division that he would never be promoted regardless of how his performance would improve. In addition, he was also asked by the organization’s management to train individuals hired to fill the positions he had applied for. The organization also breached its act, which required it to hire from within its personnel for open positions from current qualified individuals instead of employing from the external pool of employees. When Mr. Rodgers was on his annual leave, he also received information that two positions, which he had initially applied for that would have resulted in better remuneration and status, had been filled from outside the department.

Addressing Workplace Discrimination

Rodgers’ case is only among many several incidences of discrimination that take place at workplace environments across the globe. Many employees who have faced such forms of discrimination have suffered psychologically. Moreover, some have committed suicide by feeling rejected and helpless. Thus, the society is endowed with the task of ending cases of discrimination against all persons to ensure equality among all people (Green, 2003). Addressing such concerns necessitates the need for knowledge expansion as a way of protecting individuals from discriminatory acts. For instance, organizations should set up policies and guidelines towards ensuring that any form of action that is related to discrimination or stereotyping is firmly dealt with. Moreover, the media should also be engaged as a watchdog in exposing and addressing the instances of workplace discrimination. The media is obligated to disseminate strong instructive messages to increase individuals’ awareness in addressing cases of discrimination in workplace. In addition, governments should ensure that the ratified laws and regulations against workplace discrimination are fully implemented to avert the cases of hostile working environment. Moreover, effective follow up should also be conducted to ensure that any necessary reforms are made in time. These strategies aim at fighting all forms of discrimination not only at the workplaces, but also at other public spaces thus enhancing the quality of living for all.

In the contemporary economy, there are cases of slow economic recoveries in addition to the increased population growth. Moreover, many employees are uncertain of what the future holds in terms of business and economic seasons. In the United States, for instance, the traditional strong sectors of the government are experiencing slower growth rates (Butler & Berret, 2012). Under such circumstances, many employers are encountering a situation whereby there is an increase in the number of well-qualified personnel that are ready to join the labor force. Despite that this is an advantage to employers, there is an inherent risk in that it can trigger chances of discrimination, especially affecting the aging personnel.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the past few decades the world has witnessed many instances involving the phenomenon of discrimination, particularly stereotypes in the workplace. Despite that such cases may not be easily spotted, discrimination is still prevalent through indirect forms. Therefore, it is the responsibility of organizational leaders to ensure that all employees are safeguarded against discrimination. In addressing the cases of workplace discrimination, there is need for a two-fold process that enhances the awareness of the antidiscrimination regulations within organizations. All individuals within an organization have the responsibility of ensuring that all persons are treated equally. Consequently, organizations can increase their productivity by ensuring that every person is treated equally. Fair treatment of employees enhances teamwork and morale among employees, making them to give their best to the organization.

 

References

Bilkis, A., Habib, S. B., & Sharmin, T. (2010). A Review of Discrimination in Employment and Workplace. ASA University Review4(2), 137-150.

Bobo, L. D., & Fox, C. (2003). Race, racism, and discrimination: Bridging problems, methods, and theory in social psychological research. Social psychology quarterly66(4), 319-332.

Butler, T. H., & Berret, B. A. (2012). A generation lost: The reality of age discrimination in today’s hiring practices. Journal of Management and Marketing Research9, 1.

Cornides, J. (2012). Three Case Studies on ‘Anti-Discrimination’. European Journal of International Law23(2), 517-542.

Fernandes, L., & Alsaeed, N. H. Q. (2014). African Americans and workplace discrimination. European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies2(2), 56-76.

Green, T. K. (2003). Discrimination in workplace dynamics: Toward a structural account of disparate treatment theory. Harv. CR-CLL Rev.38, 91.

Hernandez, T. K. (2010). Employment Discrimination in the Ethnically Diverse Workplace. Judges J.49, 33.

Lee, A. J. (2005). Unconscious bias theory in employment discrimination litigation. Harv. CR-CLL Rev.40, 481.

Pizer, J. C., Sears, B., Mallory, C., & Hunter, N. D. (2011). Evidence of persistent and pervasive workplace discrimination against LGBT people: The need for federal legislation prohibiting discrimination and providing for equal employment benefits. Loy. LAL Rev.45, 715.

U.S. Department of Labor. (2006). Highlights of women’s earnings in 2005. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-earnings/archive/womensearnings_2005.pdf

United States District Court. (2013). Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-caed-2_13-cv-00817/pdf/USCOURTS-caed-2_13-cv-00817-0.pdf