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Discrimination happens when a worker suffers unfavorable or unfair treatment because of their race, national origin, religion, disabled or veteran status, or other offending characteristics. This group could also include workers who suffer punishment for going against workplace discrimination or for reporting infringement to the authorities. The law bar discrimination in a couple of work related areas, including hiring, recruiting, job evaluations, training, compensation, promotion policies and disciplinary action.

This definition comes up with an important point: unjust treatment does not necessarily equal outlawed discrimination. Treating an individual differently from others violates the laws only when the handling is based in the presence of a secluded characteristic, but on the job performance or even on something as arbitrary as a worker's personality. Discrimination claims can be highly subjective. For you to avoid discrimination, you do not have to extend special treatment to any worker.  It only requires that you offer the same employment opportunities and implement the same policies for each worker (www.nolo.com).

Forms of discrimination

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when an employer treats a worker less favorably than someone else because of one of the some reasons which might include gender, race ethnic background or even age among others. For example, it would be a direct discrimination when a driving job was  open only to male applicants only.There are very few circumstances in which an employer would be able to make a case for a genuine professional requirement for the job. For instance, a Roman Catholic school may be able to limit applications for a scripture teacher to baptized Catholic members only.


Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when a working condition or rule oppresses one group of people more than other. For instance, saying that applicants for a certain job must be clean shaven puts members of some religions at bay.Indirect discrimination is outlawed, whether it is done on purpose or not. It is only allowed if it is essential for the way the business functions, and there is no other way of doing it. For instance, the requirement that applicants must be clean shaven might be reasonable if the job involved handling food and it could be shown that spotting a beard or moustache was quite a hygiene risk.

You have the right not to be harassed or made fun of at a workplace or in a work related setting . Harassment means unpleasant or menacing behavior, awful language or racial abuse, with an aim to humiliate, injure or undermine the target or has that effect. For instance, permitting displays or distribution of sexually explicit stuff or giving someone an offensive nickname.

Victimization means treating someone less satisfactorily than others because they tried to lodge, a complaint on discrimination. For instance, it could be preventing someone from going for a training course, taking unjust disciplinary action against someone, or excluding someone from company's social events.

Discrimination comes in many types they include:

Gender discrimination

Gender or Sex discrimination is treating people differently in their employment especially because an individual is a man or a woman. If you have been discarded for employment, harmed, or otherwise fired in employment because of your gender or sex, then you have experienced sex or gender discrimination.In everyday language, the terms sex or gender can be used to mean the same thing, but the two words have different meanings. Social scientists normally use the word sex to describe whether a person is a male or a female, while using the term "gender" for a set of characteristics that are naturally associated with femaleness or maleness. Discrimination is absolutely illegal not considering of whether it is based on gender or sex, or both gender and sex.

Some examples of discriminations that a person may face in the work because of his/her gender include:

Hiring/Firing/Promotions: one may apply for a job for which he/she has good experience and excellent qualifications but you may not be hired because some of the company's clients don't feel comfortable dealing with a woman or a man; you are told that the company is laying you off because of reorganization or company cutbacks while the people of the opposite sex/gender in the same job even with less seniority are not laid off; you might have worked for your organization for a couple of years, receiving excellent reviews and  employee award, yet each of the several times you have applied for promotions, the positions are instead filled by less qualified people of the opposite gender.

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Pay: You worked your way up from a junior position to a senior position. A colleague from opposite sex with similar experience and training is hired is hired later but he/she is paid more than you; you might be a salesperson for a company, but you are moved to a less attractive territory while a person from opposite gender with much lower sales is assigned your territory and client base, enabling him/her to make a lot in commissions than you will make for a long time.

Job Classification: You work for an organization for several years and put in many hours in overtime. After you return from maternity leave, you tell your employer that you might not be able to put in a lot of time in overtime. Your job position is then changed to a lower level and you are paid less, while male counterparts in same positions are allowed to reduce their overtime hours for individual reasons without any changes to their pay or positions.

Benefits: Your organization's health insurance policy does not cover your husband, because it is understood that he will have his own benefits, while your men counterparts have their spouses covered by the policy. Because your spouse is between jobs, you will to pay bigger health benefits on his behalf that your colleagues do not pay for their wives.If any of these things have happened to your workplace, you have suffered gender or sex discrimination. Sex discrimination may go hand in hand with other forms of discrimination (www.workplacefairness.org).

Age discrimination

If you are 40 years old or above and you have been debilitated by a verdict affecting your employment, you may have suffered from age discrimination. Some examples of discrimination based on the age include;

The potential employer failed to employ you because he/she wanted a younger looking individual to fill the position.

You got a poor job evaluation just because you were not flexible enough to undertake new projects.

You are laid off because the company wants to maintain younger workers who can be paid less.

 You are not awarded a promotion and is awarded to a young person from another organization because the company feels that it wants to inject new blood.

When the company layoffs are announced most of the laid off workers are old and the young and less experienced workers are maintained.

Before you are laid off, the supervisor makes negative age related remarks which are offensive. If one of these things has ever happened to you in the workplace, you may have suffered discrimination based on age.

Disability discrimination

Disability discrimination means treating people in a different way in employment because of their perceived disability, disability, or even association with a person with a disability. Examples of some of disability discrimination include;

Discriminating on the ground of mental or physical disability in a variety of aspects of employment including: recruitment, training, firing, job assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, lay off, hiring, leave and any other employment related activities.

Harassing an individual on the basis of his/her disability.

Asking job interviewees questions about their current and past medical conditions, or forcing job applicants to undergo medical examinations.

Creating and maintaining a work environment that includes considerable physical barriers to the movement of employees with physical disabilities.

Refusal to provide a rational accommodation to persons with mental or physical disability that would allow them to work.If any of these things might have happened to you on the workplace, you have suffered from disability discrimination. If you are qualified for a job and have a disability, there are state and federal laws that protect you from this discrimination, retaliation and harassment on the basis of your disability.

Religious discrimination

Religious discrimination can be described as treating employees differently in their employment as a result of their religion, their practices and beliefs, and/or even their request for a change in the company's policy to accommodate their religious practices and beliefs. It also includes treating employees differently in their workplace because of lack of religious practice or belief. If you have been refused an employment position, harassed, fired or otherwise in your employment as a result of your religion, your beliefs and practices, and/or your appeal for space of your religious practices and beliefs, then you have suffered from religious discrimination. Some examples of religious discriminations include;

a. Refusing to hire an individual because he belongs to orthodox, SDA or any other religion that the employer does not like; firing a worker because he failed to report to work because he/she was observing a religious holiday; promoting a worker after he/she accepts to attend church regularly; transferring a worker to a position with no public contact because he wears Rastafarian dreadlocks; failing to give a worker a raise because he/she discusses religious matters during free time.

b. Telling workers they are not honoring company's dress code because he/she is wearing religious clothing such as turban and hijab. Repeatedly mocking an individual because if his/her strong Christian beliefs. Mocking a Muslim for not accepting to take pork during a company team building.

c.  Forcing an employee to work on his/her Sabbath even when his colleagues are willing to trade shifts with him. Forcing an employee to remove his religious clothing to match the company's dressing code. Failure to allow workers to display religious icons or any other religious expressions of beliefs in the workplace.

Race discrimination

Race discrimination is treating workers differently in their workplace because of their race, ethnic origin or color. Some of the possible discrimination based on race includes;

a. You have applied for a job which you have very good qualifications and skills but you are not hired because the company management is not comfortable working with an African American. You are laid off because the company wants to cut off but the white employees holding the same position are not laid off. You have worked for the organization for a long time without any promotion but a newer worker who is from a different race gets the promotion at your expense.

b. You have worked hard for several years and rose to a position of assistant to the project manager. A white manger with lesser qualifications than you and was hired recently gets a higher pay than you. You are moved to a remote area with hardships while a white employee takes your position.

c. You work for an organization that has seven tier job classification system and your responsibilities increases over time but your job classification does not change; white counterparts have their classifications after a short time and their salaries reviewed upwards.

d. A colleague thinks it is funny to use the 'n' word while chatting and crack jokes insulting blacks, Asians or other minority communities.

Dealing with Discrimination in the Workplace

In the last couple of years, there has been an increase in charges of discrimination in the workplace. Racial discrimination, although no longer the most regular complaint among employees, is still a problem, as is age discrimination. Dealing effectively with discrimination is a twofold process: become knowledgeable with regard to antidiscrimination laws, and pay close attention to what's happening in your company. Some of the guidelines that a manger should follow when he comes across any form of discrimination include;

a. He should pay attention to he does not always see. You cannot always see it or stop it but if you assume a slight behavior of discrimination, you and the company will suffer in the future. Employee conflicts, low morale, and even court cases are some of the problems you might have to face.

b. Never play favorites. If you are planning to offer any kind of benefits to workers, make sure they reach every worker. For example if you are planning to provide flexible job arrangement for your older employees, don't be sure to offer this to every worker.

c. Keep your beliefs to yourself. Your personal opinion concerning race, sexual orientation and other sensitive issues should not affect the way you carry out your duties of monitoring discrimination or affect your views on what is just or legal.

d. Be careful on what you say and to whom you address. It is very for a an offensive remark either made by you or a worker to start a bad feeling and can lead to hatred. Think twice before saying anything and teach your workers to behave themselves the same way. People should never be afraid to be themselves but they should be sensitive, careful and know what is right to utter what should not be uttered.

e. Respond quickly. If a worker complains about any form of discrimination in the work place, respond quickly and do what you can do best to solve the issue. Allowing it to hang will add to the workers anxiety and allow anything to happen. Create a clear policy for others and yourself for dealing with such situations. Have an talk with the complainant and gather some intelligence.

f. Finally educate yourself. Stay informed on the discrimination in the workplace. Talk with your in similar positions in different companies, read more and do research on harassment and discrimination law.

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