Last Updated 02 Aug 2020

Discrimination In The Work Environment

Words 3007 (12 pages)

Discrimination in places of work is unfair treatment of workers by their employers or by their fellow workers. In workplace discrimination, the employers pay no attention to complainants who are discriminated and in many instances they ignore the kind of harassment these particular people experience. This has a tremendous negative impact on job performance since the discriminated individual are discouraged to perform effectively and this in turn affects the output in that particular company or organization. In the US, the state laws prohibit unfair treatment of people in their respective places of work.

Discrimination in the workplace is mainly based on age, sex, race, religion, disability, nationality, intelligence and pregnancy. All the forms of discrimination are prohibited by the law in the United States and the employer is in no way entitled to harass one since he or she is not a U. S. citizen. In America discrimination is prevalent today just as it was in early 19th century. Some observers have claimed that there has been tremendous improvement following the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 by the government.

The act provided for the prosecution of those accused of discriminating workers on basis of their religion, race, skin color, age or nationality. The 1964 Civil Right Act provided for equal treatment of employees in the workplace. However, discrimination in the workplace continues to increasingly becoming common in the modern America (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). There are two major categories of discrimination: disparate treatment and disparate impact. Disparate treatment is an incidence where by one is treated differently from other employees by the employer on the basis of gender, age, sex, race, nationality or disability.

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The state laws prohibit unfair treatment of workers such as one being allocated difficult assignments or more work load than other fellow workers under taking the same work. Demotions, less payments and being laid off unjustly are other forms of disparate treatments common in the work environment. Disparate impact is a liability theory which prohibits employers from practicing unlawful discrimination during employment. Although it may appear neutral, disparate impact negatively impacts against particular ethnic, racial or sex group. It can also have a negative impact on individuals of a given religious group or the disabled.

In this case an employer, for instance comes up with tests or selection criteria that are facially neutral and not related to the job requirements so as to do away with people of particular race, nationality, and religion. The test may also include the lifting of requirement which is not correlated to the actual job so as to do away with nearly all the aged workers or women (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). Sexual harassment is a very common form of discrimination experienced globally where one is coerced to provide sexual favors by the fellow workers, bosses or the supervisors.

Sexual harassment from the fellow workers makes it difficult for one to work conveniently and peacefully. Sexual harassment from the boss or the supervisors comes about where one is coerced to admit a sexual affair so as to acquire a particular job, be promoted or be retained in the company or organization. Consequently those who fail to give in to the sexual requests are eventually fired, denied the job vacancy or demoted. This form of discrimination affects a wide range of groups particularly those belonging to different nationalities, race and skin color.

In the U. S, sexual harassment in work places is illegal although this practice continues to affect workers leading to reduced output. It is recommended that those experiencing such discrimination should report immediately to the respective personalities. Those harassed by the fellow workers and supervisors should report the matter to the employer as soon as possible since the employer may claim later that he or she was never informed of that kind of behavior when it was taking place.

One should make a written complaint and remain with a copy as well. Those harassed by employers should take a legal action by filing a case and seek help from required administrative agencies or from lawyers (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). Gender based discrimination is a form of harassment based on sex and it takes place in various places of work in the world. Although human rights dictate that individuals should not be discriminated on the basis of sex, women have always faced major discrimination in the work places and during recruitment.

For instance, in different Wal-Marts in the United States, women are given heavy tasks to perform yet limited to further training privileges and the salary paid to them is not worthy the work they do. When the employers are asked about their actions, they readily defend themselves by accusing women of being psychologically emotional and cannot make critical decisions practically. Women are usually not given equal training as men so as to acquire relevant skills which can help them properly fit in the challenging world.

The argument supplied in support of this treatment is that women can quit the job at any time since they are not the breadwinners in the house have little to care about. Moreover, other reasons have been suggested that women have other duties to meet in the house or may claim to have small babies to take care of and therefore training women in the same level with men could imply wastage of funds, energy and time. However, it is time for women to be treated equally as men since they have proved to attain similar qualifications as men and perform roles which were traditionally meant for men.

Additionally, women are the cornerstone of every development and the thriving of an economy is determined by both men and women (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). Another form of discrimination in the work environment is racial discrimination which has become a widespread problem in America and other Western states. For instance, in various places of work, the African-Americans are treated differently since they belong to the minority group in American population. Research reveals that a small number of African-Americans are employed in companies owned by Native Americans.

The problem of racial discrimination also affects the Hipic – Americans which further shows how racial discrimination has taken root in the work environment. Some of the employers have openly admitted that they don’t work either with Hipic- Americans or African- Americans. Although equality is supported by civil rights laws and also protected by the constitution many have not changed their hearts on the practice of racism. Race victims facing harassment from co- workers normally work in a hostile and non- conducive environment which is not favorable for better production.

Employees are also a bother to them especially when they are finding ways to get rid of them. Racial bias in work places determines job quality and should be discouraged in every organization (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). Age discrimination is another form of discrimination that mostly affects the old people in various workplaces. However, young people are also discriminated of their age and considered not competent even when they have the required qualifications while seeking jobs.

The old people are regarded as mentally worn out and cannot continue to serve and execute their normal roles in companies and organizations. Employment Act of 1967 in United States protects persons who are 40 years as well as all the aged people. The act ensures those who are applying for the job are protected from discrimination because of their age with respect to terms and conditions of the job. The act ensures that these old people are recruited without any form of discrimination and protects them from being laid off from their places of work with no cause.

The act also addresses the challenges encountered by these old people when they are searching new jobs after being fired from other jobs. The justification behind this form of discrimination claimed by employers is that aged people are not energetic dynamic and effective as the youth and this implies they perform poorly in the production process. This should not be the case since the old are endowed with work knowledge and experience. There is also youth discrimination also referred to as adultism. This form of discrimination is clearly evident where teenagers between 15-25 years are limited to acquiring jobs.

But this kind of discrimination is craved as a paternalistic agenda of protecting the youth since they are supposed to be treated with care and respect by the older workers. Teenagers are also perceived to be rebellious, violent and drug addicts because they are in their adolescent stage hence not convenient to work with them. Moreover, they are also fond of listening to music and this could lead to wastage of time instead of one concentrating with the allocated task (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). Intelligence based discrimination is also another serious form of discrimination in America where people with low intelligence are highly underprivileged.

This form of discrimination has not acquired prevalent attention and an enormous number of individuals have been limited to or denied access to certain opportunities and successes as a result their perceived level of intelligence. This kind of discrimination in some work places is exercised against those who have low IQ, those who work slowly, not fluent or smooth talkers. Favors are poured on the so called ‘smart people’ since they can finish the allocated task faster or tends to think faster . They are promoted and perceived as the intelligent.

Others achieve bigger jobs since they can express themselves appropriately or are fluent talkers than others. The disadvantaged are the fools who to have work harder than smart people do work so as to reach the same goal and thus putting extra efforts is the only solution to raise them to the top despite terms and conditions in place. Intelligence is a trait inherited from birth just like skin color. Being not fluent in speaking, or a slow thinker should not be taken advantage of since such people are also human beings and should be treated fairly and should have equal opportunities with smart people.

There could be aspects in them which can be utilized and lead to improved productivity in the workplace. Accurate measurements on one’s capabilities to perform a particular task should be the ones to be considered. Besides, many have no idea those perceived to be fools can do excellent work than the ones perceived to be the ‘smart people’. Fools also portray absolute perfect leadership roles. Their leadership has great gains to an organization because they adhere to observance of the rules and cannot devise plans of coming out with evil strategies against the company.

Moreover, human beings are not created with equal abilities and every one has unique talents which when appreciated can improve the performance of the organization effectively. Religious discrimination is another raging problem in several U. S work places (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). . Religious believers view their faith as their main source of good will and peace but in many situations it is the main source of enmity, hatred, violence and division. Civil rights act 1964 and United States constitution inhibits work places from discriminating individuals on basis of their religion in terms and conditions of employment.

The act also protects employees belonging to different religions from harassments such as being fired, demoted or limited to salary increments or promotion since they belong to a religion which the employer hates. It is also illegal to hinder one from exercising his or her religious practices in the place of work. . The practices include religious holidays such as Christmas day, Sabbath day observance, wearing of special gowns like those worn by Muslims . The employer is also supposed to consider those who request for prayer breaks during work sessions.

The law also covers one’s ethnic beliefs. Nowadays Christians and individuals from other religions are suppressed by secular forces in their places of work. In America Federal laws are enacted to make sure religious discrimination is not exercised. This constituent of Christian liberty is a right to all people of every faith to get involved in every privileges of the society without encountering harassment on basis of ones religion. Civil Rights Division prosecutes criminal’s accused with the cases of arson and vandalism against worshiping houses.

But there are occasions where by these laws are violated, for instance, a seventh day individual being commissioned to work on a Saturday,muslim forced to wear official clothes instead of their usual gowns, others fired by employers reason since he or she doesn’t like an employees religious beliefs. While others are constantly harassed by fellow workers since they hate their religion. In other instances one is forced to be converted to another religion so as to receive fair treatment by the boss or supervisor. Those who resolve to stand strong for their faith and opt to quit the job (Hughes & Dodge, 1997).

Pregnancy based discrimination is another key evident form of discrimination where by expectant mothers are not recruited or fired as a result of the visible pregnancy or probability coming to be pregnant. Others are denied pregnant benefits because they are not married. Others fail to be promoted because of their pregnancy. Employers don’t bear with pregnant mothers who come with claims of discomforts expectant women experience especially in early pregnancies such as morning sicknesses.

Employer foresees this as an excuse to evade work load which could other wise result into low reproductive yield in the organization. Expectant mothers in America are covered by Federal and state laws which are under civil rights act 1964 the law ensures pregnant mothers are to deliver their kids without loosing their work also to leave their jobs at appropriate duration before onset of delivery period, and prohibits employer denying to grant leave pregnant mothers who are under doctor’s instructions to go for medical examination by the appropriate doctor.

Employers justify their discrimination by claiming that pregnant need attention every moment and sick off leaves they request are just means of running away from performing the allocated tasks . Eventually employers count this as a loss to a company as a result of low productivity. Employers also view pregnant women as weak personnel who are not effective and efficient since they can’t work at a certain rate.

.Under federal law employers who have recruited more than fifteen employers are not entitled to; deny a pregnant woman job vacancy , lay off or force an employee to quite job since she is pregnant, deduct ones accrued retirement benefits for previous years for the reason of maternity leave and retrench an employee who has done an abortion. Therefore pregnant women are in a position to work conveniently so long as the have the ability to work without any problem The supervisor or the employer is also entitled to offer maternity leave at the appropriate time and also treat pregnant women as potential workers .

When a pregnant woman is not in a position to perform heavy tasks the employer is accorded to offer less difficult task (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). Disability discrimination in work places is also evident where one can be laid off or not hired depending on disability status. American Disability Act is the law explains disability as a condition of any form of impairment which hinders one from performing major activities in life. The law ensures people with such impairments are not discriminated.

In different work places in Americans those who are HIV positive and those with cancer history cancers are prone dramatization and discrimination . Therefore the law ensures they protected appropriately. As the saying goes ‘disability is not inability’ thus disabled qualified applicants should not be denied a particular opportunity. The employer should treat this staff member equally as others according to terms and conditions of work . Disabled people are perceived not to perform effectively towards productivity of an organization since some may require frequent medical check ups and this could lead to wastage of time.

Others may not be able to walk faster also leading to wastage of time and inefficiency in job performance. Those on wheel chairs could pose to the company extra costs such as transportation cost, repair and maintenance costs on wheel chair tires to be incurred by an organization and also this particular staff member requires special treatment. The disabled also face stiff competition from other healthy workers hence discouraging their efforts. Employers take advantage of discriminating them and showing favourism to the potential employees.

Employers should ensure fair treatment of the disabled since no one decides to be in such a condition they should also put in place measures which protect these victims from other co- workers. When this is in place, the disabled are able to work in a permissive environment (Hughes & Dodge, 1997). In general, discrimination in the workplace constitutes racial, gender, religion intelligence, pregnancy, and age discrimination. The employers or other fellow employees may take advantage of other peoples’ weakness in exploiting and discrimination others in the workplace.

People in the workplace take advantage of the underprivileged to retain them in the job. And also establish sexual affairs with employees working under them since they promise favors such as pay increments and promotion. This should be discouraged since one can contract incurable sexual diseases and also can lead to the spread of the same disease in an organization. Discrimination based on age and race should be discouraged since it curtails one’s effort in the job and in return this negatively affects the productivity. When workers are discriminated, their output is reduced since they are never comfortable in such environments.

In other instances for example where religious discrimination is rampant and many are forced to withdraw from the company especially when many forced for conversion to other faiths. This automatically leads to either decline of the company or incur heavy losses which can lead to the closure of the company indeed. State law should ensure laws regarding work places are not violated and those charged with cases of discrimination should be punished or fined accordingly. Therefore discrimination in places of work should be ever legalized.


Hughes, D &Dodge, M.A. (1997).African American Women in the Workplace: Relationships   Between Job Conditions, Racial Bias at Work, and           Perceived Job Quality. American      Journal of Community Psychology. 25(5):     581-599.

Discrimination In The Work Environment essay

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