Types of Workplace Discrimination
According to the Constitutions of more than hundred states, all people are equal. Every individual regardless of their nationality, race, sex, or religion has the right to work, live wherever they want, have children, vote etc.. However, sometimes, the reality runs contrary to the formalities stated in the legal documents. Accordingly, people face unfairness, which infringes their inalienable rights. To illustrate, there are different types of workplace discrimination related to age, disability, genetic information, harassment, national origin, pregnancy, race/color, religion, sex, and sexual harassment. The first type of discrimination includes the bias against certain age groups. As a result, people who are over 40 years old often experience discrimination. For example, when it comes to a choice between a young and old candidate for a position, an employer is likely to prefer a young employee. Additionally, older workers may face a lay-off on the stereotypical grounds that they have poorer productivity. The second type is ableism, a prejudice against the disabled. People often mistreat such individuals thinking that they are inferior. Consequently, they may prevent the handicapped from cultural and social integration.
People tend to discriminate others on the basis of a bias against genetic information. Sometimes, recruiters even check candidates’ family histories to define whether there are some genetic diseases. Another type is national origin discrimination. People with different cultural background experience unwarranted unfair treatment. The next type of discrimination is bias against pregnancy. Occasionally, employers do not hire pregnant women. In addition, they may choose a woman without child rather than a woman with children. Race discrimination is another type of common workplace bias. People face unequal treatment only because of their skin color. Religion bias has become more common recently. People may express hostile attitude towards individuals with different religion, and it especially concerns Muslims. Another typical workplace prejudice may result in sex discrimination. In fact, women and men perform the same job at the same productivity level, but the former have lower salaries as compared with the latter. Accordingly, employer may treat women unfavorably only because of their sex. For instance, males more often receive promotion and various benefits, including health insurance policy. Such practices are socially unacceptable, and, therefore, people invest many efforts to eliminate workplace discrimination.
Throughout history, people confronted many examples of workplace discrimination. However, the authorities do their best to reduce inequality by introducing new laws and fines. For instance, there are two cases discussed in the court that depict workplace discrimination. The first case concerns Shores v. Publix Super Markets (GBDH). The company Publix Grocery Stores provided unequal opportunities for women and men. The percentage of working women was significantly lower than the number of male employees. The second example relates to Mitchell v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Inc., d.b.a. MetLife (GBDH). MetLife’s Financial Services Division Company refused to promote women even if they were more qualified than men. Again, sex discrimination is a relatively common practice that favors representative of a particular sex.
The Effect of Workplace Discrimination on Organizations
The workplace discrimination in business can result in excessive legal expenses (the cost of law cases, lawyers, and attorneys), undermine staff’s morale, and affect the productivity of work. The practice of discrimination affects both unemployed individuals and workers. Employees are frequently not satisfied when employers assign promotions, benefits, and bonuses on the basis of age, race, religion, and other factors. Consequently, the overall productivity becomes poorer since employees lack motivation. For example, when an employee is discriminated against, he often feels helpless and anxiety-ridden, and may suddenly lack interest in job responsibilities, career advancement or the company's welfare. When workers observe workplace discrimination, it makes them leave the organization they work for. As a result, it loses qualified workers, which negatively influences the operation of the organization. According to Shores v. Publix Super Markets case, employees were not satisfied with the opportunities they had (men had better workplaces, higher salaries, and higher chances of promotion). In addition, the company mainly hired men, which signified that the employer had prejudice against females. (GBDH). As a result, the small number of women affected the overall performance results of the organization, because female workers had a potential to do a part of duties better than males. Moreover, the workplace discrimination can greatly damage company’s reputation since clients may not approve of such discriminating practices. A wide range of laws regulates the workplace discrimination. Thus, violation of the rules can lead to heavy fines and compensation to the victims of unfair lay-off.
Gender or sex discrimination is one of the most common biases in the U.S. and other countries. Some employers intentionally search for men, because they think that a male is more intelligent and responsible, while others hire preferably women because of their personal convictions. However, the federal law does not allow it. Workers may face such types of sex discrimination at the workplace: hiring/firing/promotions, pay, job classification, and benefits (EEOC). First, a woman can be more qualified than a man, but the company decides to hire a man. Another example of sex discrimination involves career prospects: men receive promotion more often than women, regardless of their qualifications.
Second, if women and men perform the same work, they usually spend the same amount of time. Nevertheless, the average salary of a male employee tends to be higher. According to (EEOC), the discrepancy between women’s and man’s wages is about 38%, which is unacceptable for the developed society. Third, after returning from maternity leave, women can ask to reduce their working hours. The employer may fulfill this request but decrease the salary and change her position to a lower level, while men can ask for the same favor without negative consequences (EEOC). Fourth, sometimes, health insurance policy of the company can cover expenditures on the healthcare for the wives of male workers, whereas spouses of female workers do not receive any health insurance benefits.
The Tort and Case Law
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the main law that regulates and bans sex discrimination at the workplace (EEOC). It is the federal law; however, the legal regulations of most states also do not allow other types of discrimination. Furthermore, there are additional laws that protect employees from discrimination at the workplace, namely Executive Order 11246, Executive Order 13665, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (EEOC). Therefore, all companies have to follow those rules strictly in order to avoid legal problems.
According to the main law Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other special laws, employers cannot hire, fire, promote employees, lower or raise their salary on the grounds of sex (EEOC). Executive Order 11246 forbids companies with income of $10 000 a year discriminate workers by sex (EEOC). The discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions are also illegitimate by the law (EEOC). The infringement of the law by a company is liable to prosecution.
Effect of Law on Organizations
As mentioned earlier, all people are equal. All organizations are also equal: they all have to follow the law. In case they violate it, they have to pay the legal costs of running a tribunal or court case. The infringing of The Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act leads to several implications, including legal expenditure, stained reputation, and unsatisfactory productivity as a result of workers’ dissatisfaction. Additionally, companies who ignore anti-discrimination law have to pay the compensation. According to GBDH, the Publix Grocery Stores company was supposed to compensate $81.5 million, while the MetLife’s Financial Services Division company had to pay $5,000,000 (GBDH). The upper limit is $100 000 in NSW, while there is no limit federally. Again, victims of discrimination should report to the authorities in order to achieve justice.
Workers face discrimination for many factors, such as age, sex, religion, nationality, disability etc. It affects organizations in a negative way. The most common type of discrimination relates to the sex bias. In fact, women experience prejudice at the workplace more frequently than men do. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the main law that protects employees from discrimination. If workers become victims of unfair treatment, they can complaint and bring their employers to justice.
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