Discriminatory practices impact the operations of organizations in various ways. Going by the definition of discrimination at the place of work, it takes various forms and can occur at all the stages of employment. Statistical evidence proves that jobsite discrimination mainly affects minority populations. A review of the moral dimension of discrimination points out that it is immoral and can cause harm to the society. The practice contravenes the provision of various ethical theories that guide behavior. This paper recommends that affirmative action needs to be taken in addressing the negative impacts of discrimination. Through affirmative action programs, victimized populations will be able to benefit from natural resources which can in the end enhance their lifestyles. This paper contains 2700 words.
The conditions at the workplace affect the way in which an individual functions. Supportive work environments offer workers the chance of fully exploring their abilities. Therefore, employees in such organizations are ambitious and have high levels of performance. Discriminatory practices undermine the effective operations of individuals as well as the organization itself in various ways. Apart from denying the organizations the opportunity of benefiting from competent human resources, they also hinder potential employees from obtaining meaningful employment. Ethically, this is unacceptable since the negative effects promote injustice. However, despite this, job discrimination has persistently prevailed in society. Inherent prejudice is counterproductive and can cause emotional distress. It significantly compromises economic development and general growth of the society at large. In this regard, this paper gives a comprehensive evaluation of jobsite discrimination. After the definition of the concept, it also outlines the extent of the practice and evaluates its credibility from various moral perspectives.
The Concept of Job Discrimination
Job discrimination defines the different forms of prejudices that organizations show towards their workers. In most cases, they are manifested during important procedures like recruitment, promotions, training among others. Johnson (2011) points out that discrimination at the place of work occurs when policies, procedures or decisions are either entirely or partially influenced by illegal prejudice that is harmful or beneficial to a particular group in the population. There are typical procedures and policies that govern various processes in the work place. For example, there are standards and regulations that organizations use in the process of recruitment, promotions and training. The regulations are objective in nature and aimed at guiding the organizations towards hiring highly competent employees. However, there are other illegitimate procedures that promote discrimination. These are usually false beliefs that are perpetuated by populations over a period of time. Such practices are a disadvantage to some groups of populations within the organization and can significantly compromise productivity.
According to Robinson (2003), job site discrimination is not exercised intentionally. Leaders in organizations often favor some individuals over others as a result of personal preferences. There are also certain cases whereby the leaders accept stereotypes without knowing it. In this regard, employers do not directly show discrimination against individual employees. Instead, the policies, procedures, and guidelines that they apply promote injustice. For instance, a policy that denies women from handling supervisory jobs because of cultural values that prohibit them from taking leadership roles. Another example is about policies that require persons of color to undergo literary tests before being hired because of their poor educational backgrounds. Such policies are discriminatory especially in cases whereby they are not applicable to the qualifications for a particular job.
The Extent of Job Site Discrimination
Discrimination at the place of work takes place at various stages including promotions, recruitment, discharge, screening and compensation. As pointed out earlier, it can take place both consciously and unconsciously, and also negatively impacts the employee performance. Job site discrimination is demeaning. According to statistical evidence, there are various kinds of discrimination that are still practiced in the modern work environment (Hilary, 2003). These have been going on since the ancient times and continually influence the decision making processes in such organizations.
Essentially, job site discrimination is manifested when certain groups within the company are given preference over the others. The group that is discriminated against is not allowed to hold certain positions, irrespective of their competence. In a review by Wood, Braeken and Niven (2013), it is stated that discrimination at the place of work occurs when the organization makes a decision that is against either an individual or more people and does not recognize their merits. Objective decisions consider certain qualifications to be morally legitimate. Such qualifications can include the ability to perform respective jobs, experience, or seniority. Decisions on discrimination are made based on false stereotypes, sexual bias and or racial prejudice. They have negative impacts on the interest of employees and can hinder their promotions, ability to secure jobs and even better remuneration (Johnson, 2011).
Comparisons on income show that racial discrimination exists in the American society. It is reported that there is a huge income gap between White employees and those of color. Johnson (2009) argues that the family income of Black employees remains lower compared to their White counterparts. This is an implication that employees of the White race earn higher salaries unlike those from other racial groups. In the same way, female employees in almost all occupational groups receive a relatively lower income compared to the male workers (Hilary, 2003).
Comparative studies also ascertain that individuals from minority groups are generally poverty stricken. In this regard, poverty is defined by a low economic status and an income that cannot sustain an individual’s livelihood. It is an implication that these people receive a lower pay in the workplace unlike those from the dominant White population. A few women have notably been given an opportunity to hold managerial positions in the current workforce (Morris & Fiske, 2011). Besides, very few organizations are headed by females. Since these leadership positions are economically lucrative, women are at a great disadvantage. Unemployment statistics show that more people from mixed races are jobless. This is irrespective of the fact that they have equal capabilities and have a strong desire of assuming such roles. Summarily, discrimination is apparent in contemporary work environments and is manifested in various ways.
Job Site Discrimination and Decision Making
Workplace discrimination influences decision making in the work environment. Robinson (2003) argues that it influences the management to hire staff members that are incompetent for the positions. As a result of this, decision making is based on subjective elements instead of objective standards. Therefore, discrimination makes organization process and procedures to be informal. Normally, established benchmarks and standards accredit organization procedures through the provision of suitable guidelines. If this is ignored, the quality of decisions made at different levels is negatively impacted. Discrimination certainly affects the performance of employees that are favored by the processes. These employees consider themselves to be of importance than others and may even choose to refrain from undertaking their roles as required. This is because they are favored at all levels.
According to Hilary (2003), workplace discrimination frustrates the efforts of the groups that are discriminated against. This arguably makes them to resign and may decide to stop advancing their competencies. In some cases, discrimination may motivate them to pursue professional training at higher stages. At a secondary stage, job site discrimination taints the image of an organization. This may influence the decision of investors with regards to their investments in society. Besides, it may also compromise the performance of the products of the organization in the market.
Discrimination from an Ethical Perspective
From an ethical perspective, discrimination in the workplace is an immoral practice that should be condemned at all times. It encourages inequalities and cause harm to individuals, organizations and the entire society. Discrimination hinders people from enjoying their rightfully acquired liberties. The practice seemingly contravenes the provisions of various ethical theories.
This argument describes moral actions as those that make people happy. Therefore, the practice is immoral since it cuts down the level of happiness enjoyed by certain groups in the population. Victims particularly suffer losses that are linked to psychological distress, loss of self development opportunities and loss of income (Johnson, 2011). There is no doubt that the pain that is associated with the losses is more than the benefits that it offers. Thus, discrimination significantly reduces the level of happiness of employees in the place of work.
Utilitarian principles recognize merit as an ideal standard that should be upheld in employment. Those who are employed on this basis effectively carry out their roles. For this perspective, discrimination is not ethical since it promotes inefficiency. In the work environment, organizations optimize efficiency through the recruitment of competent staff. Considering merit also enhances the general welfare of employees. This principle recognizes that various tasks within the organization require specific competencies, skills and knowledge. Efficiency can only be achieved if the roles are assigned to employees that have the best skills and knowledge. The selection of employees on other grounds apart from merit undermines the organization’s productivity. Aspects regarding sex, race and religion are purely subjective and not related to merit. Hence, relying on them in the process of hiring is morally unacceptable.
With regards to utilitarianism, discrimination has negative impacts on the wellbeing of the company and the society at large. Apart from reducing the productivity of the organization, it also puts the organization at the risk of taking part in unnecessary law suits. In many cases, people who are discriminated against take legal measures. As a result of this, the affected organization has to incur additional expenses in the form of legal fees. The law suit tarnishes the image of the organization and compromises its credibility. Wood et al (2013) argues that such incidences result into immense losses. The society shoulders the negative impacts of discrimination at the place of work too. At this point, it should be acknowledged that individuals who are discriminated against belong to different cultural backgrounds, genders, and religions that are important aspects of the society. Therefore, the impacts of discrimination on social and cultural diversity are quite significant.
From Rawl’s argument, individuals tend to be ignorant about their religious affiliations, gender or status (Robinson, 2003). Normally, an ethical individual would not wish to be identified with a group that is discriminated. The egalitarian principle points out that people have an equal chance for all forms of liberty. From an ethical perspective, individuals have a right to be involved in jobs that are beneficial to them. Rawls emphasizes that liberty should only be limited for the sake of another form of liberty. This is acceptable since all kinds of liberty are desirable and at par. With regards to discrimination at the workplace, it is not ethical for any person or organization to discriminate against a worker for any form of benefit. Exchanging the rights of individuals for personal or organizational gain is not ethical and should be avoided.
Based on the principle of equal opportunity, all individuals should be accorded an equal chance in order to benefit from the natural resource base. Discriminatory workplaces are characterized by bias practices and hinder certain individuals from enjoying the economic gains of their employment. This implies that discrimination encourages inequality through given some people an additional advantage in employment. Since job site discrimination is in contravention of important ethical provisions, it is unjust and unethical.
Kant’s Categorical Imperatives
From the viewpoint of Kant, individuals should measure morality at all times. All actions should be dependent on moral duties instead of interests, inclinations, or results. The principle of humanity argues that people are worthy beings. As a result of this, they require proper treatment for the achievement of goals. Discrimination goes against this by denying employees the chance of benefiting from their efforts. In such instances, they are used as tools for economic gains. This means that organizations perceive employees as objects that can be used in the optimization of profits. Besides, the practice also encourages exploitation and undermines productivity. It also frustrates workers and hinders them from pursuing growth and development.
Kantian ethics further advocate for the nurturing of talents, development of capacities, and extension of benevolence towards fellow humans (Wood et al, 2013). Discrimination counters these propositions by preventing people from enhancing their capacities. The resultant psychological harm discourages people from developing their talents as required. The fact that discrimination hinders some people from getting promotions at the places of work makes it challenging for them to enhance their competencies through professional experience. With regards to this, it should be noted that professional experiences like induction training equip workers with desirable skills and knowledge in some areas of expertise. Discriminatory practices also promote hostility in the place of work. This can strain relationships and prevent peaceful coexistence.
Based on the principle of universality, people have the duty of willfully establishing certain maxims that they also consider desirable as universal laws (Hilary, 2003). The universal application of discrimination at the place of work hinders productivity. Besides, it undermines efficiency and effectiveness. Discrimination also reduces the motivation of the affected groups, therefore compromises their performance. In extreme circumstances, discrimination impacts hostility and social unrest. This hampers the general economy and makes it hard for organizations to sustain growth. The practice compromises peaceful coexistence by straining relationships and promoting justice. Rationally, it is not likely that any employer would want to attain such a status.
In the philosophy of Aristotle, he emphasizes on the achievement of human happiness. According to Robinson (2003), this can only be attained if people live virtuous lifestyles. There are various virtues including respect, fairness, compassion, love, and justice among several others. The promotion of these virtues in the work environment enhances the productivity of an organization. Discrimination in the workplace is against the propositions of various virtues like fairness, justice, and benevolence. In order to live better lifestyles, people should take part in various economic activities. Employment is one of the most viable ways of obtaining quality lifestyles. People use the economic gains in fulfilling their needs. People ideally perform well in areas where they have sufficient competencies. Denying individuals the chance of optimizing their professional capacities through discrimination has negative impacts on their performance. Such practices also hinder their productivity, thereby reducing the amount of rewards. This is because in the society that we live in today, the reward system is based on a person’s efficiency.
Conclusions and Recommendations
To sum up this topic, discrimination has adverse impacts on the functioning of workers as well as organizations. They compromise sustainable growth and act as disincentives in the organizational environment. Discriminatory practices accord certain groups of employees a preferential treatment in the processes of recruitment, screening, discharge, or compensation. The benefits that are enjoyed by such groups include better pay, higher income, and additional opportunities for professional development among others. On the other hand, people who are discriminated against suffer psychological distress, restricted opportunities for growth and development, and dismissal from their jobs among others. Based on the above review, people from minority groups are more likely to experience job site discrimination compared to other social groups. Statistical evidence reveal that such people struggle with low incomes, are affected by poverty and not given the opportunity to hold top managerial roles.
Discrimination is ethically unacceptable and has adverse impacts on various elements of the society. As a result of the pain that is encountered during the loss, the degree of happiness that a person enjoys also goes down. Besides, it also promotes inequality by giving room for different forms of disparities amongst people. Of most importance is that discrimination contravenes the propositions of ideal virtues like patience, justice, and respect. Since discriminatory practices at times occur unintentionally, and also at times ingrained in the policies and procedures of organizations, it is important to initiate suitable approaches to help in addressing discrimination effectively and also at the right time. Affirmative action provides the best alternative to ensure that victims of various forms of discrimination are compensated as required.
WordPress (2009) asserts that affirmative action ensures increased representation of minority populations in employment. Compensatory justice requires that people who have been wronged unjustly or intentionally are compensated. Through affirmative action programs, dominant populations compensate minority groups for the discrimination that they are exposed to in the workplace. According to Wood et al (2013), previous forms of discrimination still put minority groups at a disadvantage. Therefore, affirmative action offers them the chance of overcoming the forms of discriminatory practices that are deeply rooted in the policies and procedures of the organization. Further, it also helps in breaking the circle that confines minority populations to low paying jobs.
Hilary, B. (2003). Being human: Ethics, environment and our place in the world. Feminism & Psychology, 13 (1), 106-108.
Johnson, C. (2011). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light and shadow. New York: Sage Publications. Available at: http://books.google.co.ke/books/about/Meeting_the_Ethical_Challenges_of_Leader.html?id=RKSHf0tLyNQC&redir_esc=y
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Robinson, D. (2003). A legal and ethical handbook for ending discrimination in the workplace. New York: Paulist Press. Available at: http://www.amazon.com/Ethical-Handbook-Ending-Discrimination-Workplace/dp/0809141388
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