Sociologists often follow (Merton 1972, p. 20) in defining discrimination as the treatment of a functionally relevant status (such as race or sex) as relevant for the distribution of some reward or penalty. While legal standards of discrimination have changed since the passage of Title VII (Blumrosem, 1993, p. 110), legal scholars theoretically concur that discrimination involves the desperate treatment of similarly situated individuals because of their sex, race, color, national origin, religion or some other protected characteristics (Belz 1991; Blumrosen 1993, p 50).
Diversity is defined as real or perceived difference among people that affect their interactions and relationships. (Bell, 2007). Knowing how to deal professionally with racism and racial discrimination in the workplace is important in managing the situation quickly and effectively and with the least upset possible. In the fiscal year 1997-2008, the United States EEOC received 28,372 charges of sex discrimination. EEOC resolved 24,018 sex discrimination charges in FY 2008 and recovered $109. million in monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals (not including monetary benefits obtained through litigation).
Causes: Sexism, gender and racial discrimination are more common in the patriarchal societies. The term patriarchy refers to a society where men are granted the majority of social and political power. When thought of in this way, the cause of gender or racial discrimination has to do with unequal power where men and people of a particular race are granted more power than others. Institutional discrimination begins with recruitment process.
Most jobs, especially the better ones, are not openly advertised. Knowledge of their existence is usually limited to friends and colleagues of those in power in the institutions, and in turn their friends and associates. Much institutional discrimination results from judgments made on secondary rather than primary characteristics such as educational background employment history, supervisory experience, age, income, etc. Misconceptions about employment experiences of women of color, particularly black women abound. Black women are often stereotyped as being unwilling to work, preferring nstead to use welfare to support her children (Bell 2007).
Consequences: Cost associated with doing a poor job by not integrating workers from different background and gender could be very high. Organizations that do not value diversity reduce employee relations and also increase the cost of staff turnover. Costs associated with turnover include exit interviews, lost productivity while positions are unfilled and recruiting cost for replacement of employees. Cox, T. , & Blake, S. (1991). Talked about non-resourceful acquisition.
Cox and Blake describe an organization’s ability to attract and retain employees from different backgrounds as resource acquisition. Employees from diverse backgrounds may include women, people of color, older workers, workers with disabilities and minorities, therefore organizations who do not have diverse workers are not resourceful in acquiring employees. An organization that does not value diversity lacks creativity and problem solving capability. Organizations composed of the same group of people, with same background would lack creativity and the problem solving ability of these competitive business environments.
Research indicates that groups composed of people from different backgrounds bring with them different experiences that result in greater creativity and problem solving ability. These abilities stem from different life experiences, language abilities, and education that groups composed of different members have. An organization that discriminates or does not appreciate diversity in the workplace lacks system flexibility. System flexibility is the final way that Cox and Blake proposed that valuing diversity provides organizations with a competitive advantage.
They argue that women have a higher tolerance for ambiguity than men. Tolerance for ambiguity is associated with cognitive complexity and success in uncertain situations. Other researchers have pointed out women’s ability to” multitask,” successfully handling multiple tasks concurrently. Organizations that discriminate against women therefore lack the flexibility and thus poor turnover. Due to amount of media attention focusing on lawsuits and damage settlements, an organization that discriminates in hiring employees from different ethnic groups and cultures might be at risk for law suits.
Firstly to find solution to discrimination one has to be aware of one’s own stereotypes and biases, making conscious efforts to challenge and address them. Evaluation of current system of recruitment and promotion in the workplace is also very important. The current system of recruitment and promotion in a workplace needs to be examined and evaluated. Occupational hierarchies need to be examined both to determine the actual content of jobs and to remove barriers to mobility built into such hierarchies which serve to discriminate (Jo Freeman 1970).
Not only are efforts to recruit and hire people from diverse backgrounds important, efforts to ensure that they are treated fairly after employment are also critical to successful diversity programs. Managers and professionals should be made to understand the importance of diversity in the workplace. The benefits of diversity is not farfetched, if an organization develops a reputation for valuing all types of employees, it would become known as an employer of choice, increasing its ability to attract and retain workers from a variety of backgrounds.
Valuing diversity can also benefit organizations in the areas of cost, resource acquisition, marketing, creativity, and problem solving and system flexibility. As a manager or supervisor that is hiring in an organization, pay particular attention to relevant information and ignore irrelevant, race-based stereotypes. This will help to eliminate what is not necessary and help to focus on necessity. Applying sanctions for violation of anti-discriminatory norms by employers is very important to stop discrimination in workplaces.
Title VII of the civil right act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Federal and state law has expanded the rights afforded employees, giving them greater opportunities to bring claim against employer. The 1991 civil rights act specifically permits both punitive and compensatory damages for most type of discrimination and grants the right to a jury trial for such claim. I will also advice employees if they have suffered an insult, an injury, or a wrong at work to go slowly.
Decide what you want to gain. If an apology from your employer would suffice, save yourself the time and expense of filling a legal action. Finally in light of societal changes, responsible managers and professionals at all levels should acknowledge the need to reassess the influence of culture and diversity on achieving expected organizational outcome. The deliberate attempt to discover and apply the positive benefits of cultural variation promotes respect and a celebration of the value of diversity, whereas perpetuating prejudice fosters narrow-mindedness and contempt.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 December 2016
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