A well ran organization is not only one that knows how to manage their employees, but
more importantly one that knows how to manage diversity within the organization. An organization that knows how to manage diversity works towards preventing unfair discrimination (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Preventing discrimination allows for employees to perform higher by feeling more motivated, satisfied, and engaged within their job. From this, employees will also make less excuses to miss work and also lower the turnover rate for the organization. Discrimination includes and is not limited to: discriminatory policies or practices, sexual harassment, intimidation, mockery and insults, exclusion, and incivility (Robbins & Judge, 2017). Carrying a stereotype threat or being a victim of discrimination can cause a number of problems for the victim and can have a huge impact on the reputation and productivity of the organization.
Even with anti-discrimination laws put in place such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination in the workplace continues being a big issue. In a data summary provided by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOS), it can be seen that from the fiscal year in 1997, to the fiscal year in 2016, total charges of discrimination in the workplace have steadily increased each year, with a total of 1,728,959 individual charge filings and an average of 86,448 each year (EEOS, FY 1997-2016).
Discrimination in the workplace has a big impact on how the organization performs and the issue is only getting worse according to the statistics provided by EEOS. With the United States becoming more diverse, it is important that all organizations begin to acknowledge the effects and causes of discrimination. In order to continue being one of top leading countries we must learn how to avoid discrimination and stereotyping to be a more productive society.
Reasons for the Problem
A reason for discrimination in the workplace mainly revolves around the influences that stereotypes can have on people. People begin treating others differently when they allow stereotypes to have a bigger influence then they should. The main problem is that people allow these influences to alter their emotions and actions which lead to discrimination in many forms. In fact, Susan T. Fiske, a psychology professor from Princeton University states that “people are often biased against others outside of their own social groups, showing prejudice (emotional bias), stereotypes (cognitive bias), and discrimination (behavioral bias) (Fiske, S. T. (2017). Allowing a stereotype to influence your perception on someone is not only morally wrong but ineffective. By definition a stereotype is an idea that is used to describe a particular type of person or thing (Cambridge Dictionary,2017). These perceived notions, ideas, and overgeneralizations are effecting all kinds of people especially in the workplace. Discriminatory acts in the workplace that are derived from stereotypical influences are hard to be seen but are most common in interviews, promotion opportunities, or simply during operations. People are losing out on opportunities and getting treated differently because of things they have hardly any control over such as their physical attributes.
One of the most common forms of discrimination is gender discrimination. This type of discrimination comes from “a bias based on a person’s sex, that leads to defining the roles he/she should play in society(Wolfe,2017). However, this type of discrimination mainly targets women. Women are commonly seen as the ones who are more fragile, stay home, do the cooking and cleaning, and care for the children, therefore making them seen as less valuable than men; the
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ones who are traditionally seen as the breadwinners. Men to a certain extent are usually more preferred for a job then women are due to the misconceptions that men can produce more, are affected less by emotions, and are simply more superior then women. Due to those conceptions women are not only hired less than men but also make less than men as well. According to an article published by the Harvard business school it was found that per each dollar that a man makes, a woman makes 78 cents (Gerdeman, 2017). They also found that “employers are significantly less likely to hire a woman compared to an equally able man” (Gerdeman, 2017). In this modern society where women are becoming more educated and independent they still face discrimination even when they are more entitled for a position over a man. Acts like this are leading to a lot of inefficiencies and lost opportunities in the organization due to gender discrimination.
Another common form of discrimination especially in our current time period is age discrimination. This form mainly targets older citizens of the population such as the silent generation, the baby boomers, and generation x. In an analysis conducted by the Pew Research Center it was found that “one in three American workers today are millennials, and in 2015 they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce” (Fry,2015). With more millennials taking a majority of the workforce its easier for employers to discriminate against older workers. For example, when looking for a job even with all the experience that an older person may be able to provide they are still discriminated against largely due to many expectations or stereotypes held against them. A couple reasons why an employer would stay away from choosing an older candidate could include having to pay a higher salary, expensive benefits, out of date skills, retirement expectations, etc. In this modern world where
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things are extremely faced paced and technological, it seems that the logical thing to do would be to choose the candidate who has more endurance and a better understanding of technology and most times that candidate is of the younger part of the population such as the millennials. Even with this sounding like the more logical thing to do people must work to survive and being older should not be a reason why someone loses out on a job that he/she is equally qualified for.
Effects of the Problem
The sense of being treated unfairly for something such as gender, race, or age can quickly alter someone’s attitudes about the environment they work in and especially the company as a whole if management chooses to do nothing about the issue. The result of management not doing anything or simply being the cause of the issue can lead to disgruntled employees filled with anger and frustration. After a while an employee who is discriminated against may begin to lose motivation due to the belief that performance has nothing or very little impact towards rewards and promotions therefore preventing their full potential (Malone,2017). From this, employees will begin to seek new job opportunities with equal opportunity. Productivity
As mentioned previously a disgruntled employee’s productivity can expect to decrease. When an employee is discriminated against they often feel powerless and will change the way they approach their job duties and reasonability’s. Employees “may suddenly lack interest in job responsibilities, career advancements or the company’s welfare” (Finn,2017). Overall the company ends up hurting as much as the employee. Production and quality both fall and harm the company’s external and internal reputation.
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Depending on the size of the organization and the position of the employee that has been discriminated against the organization can notice a negative effect on efficiency. For example, if an employee that was discriminated against played an important role in an organization and decided to seek employment elsewhere the company would seem to be in a plateau. Meaning that company would lose time and money looking for someone else to cover that position and also spend time training the new employee all while operations are struggling to get by(Finn,2017).
The effectiveness of a company who doesn’t take the issues of employee discrimination seriously is one who can expect to see a drop-in quality and success. Reasons why these two would get affected would rely on the physical effects on the employee that would directly affect the organization. When an employee is discriminated against they may begin to show up to work less often or may even show up late to work more often (Finn,2017). Actions like those would take a toll on other employees that would have to pick up the neglected workload making it hard for the company to be effective.
Once an employee is discriminated against they fail to seek further goal attainment in the establishment. As mentioned earlier in Morale, employees begin to believe that performance has nothing to do with achieving rewards or promotions making them care less about the company’s welfare and career advancement in the organization(Finn,2017). Employees will begin to look elsewhere where there are equal opportunities so that they can fulfill their goals and not have to worry about getting cheated out of a promotion due to discrimination.
Possible Solution #1
A possible solution to preventing discrimination in the workplace could start by informing the organization on the laws that protect people from getting discriminated against. Ultimately teaching the organization about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 could keep the environment free of harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion” (AAUW, 2017). By posting this information in the organization’s cafeteria or an area with much employee traffic it would serve as a constant reminder to the employees and the employer about the employee rights, therefore dissuading the employer of committing any discriminatory acts against their employees.
Possible Solution #2
Another possible solution to preventing discrimination would be diversifying the workforce in the organization. Doing so would help “employees learn to understand other cultures and ages, for example, and have a mutual respect for all team members” (Finn,2017). Not only does diversifying the workforce make it less likely for discrimination, but it brings different kinds of ideas to the table that could benefit the company’s performance significantly (Finn,2017).
Possible Solution #3
Educating management on diversity and harassment could also be implemented to prevent discrimination in the workplace. By informing management on the areas where discrimination is common as well as how to go about dealing with these issue is the first step in preventing discrimination. “Mangers must take the lead and ensure that discrimination is stopped
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in all departments and during every business initiative, such as hiring and firing” (Finn,2017). This could be enforced by the employer scheduling mandatory seminars on how management should go about diversity and harassment by issuing them policies (Finn,2017).
Based on the research educating management on diversity and harassment would be the
most feasible and effective way of preventing discrimination in the workforce. Implementing this method for combatting discrimination would not be the most cost-effective implementation but the most effective out of all three solutions. The reason for that is discrimination begins with management. By making it mandatory that management takes part in these seminars will give them the idea that discrimination is an important issue and must be handled appropriately. These seminars would also provide management with the appropriate methods to go about handling certain situations and welcoming diversity by issuing company policies, educating them on anti- discrimination laws and videos on how to respect different cultures and people all together. Once management is educated on the diversity and harassment, seminars on how to apply this knowledge would follow. These seminars would show them how to go about hiring, firing, discipline, pay, etc.
Providing employees with this type of environment will allow them to flourish and work in a welcoming environment. Allowing employees to work in this type of environment will benefit both the company and the employees. Making the organization a fair playing field would motivate employees to compete with each other knowing that rewards and promotions are given to those with higher job performance. The increase in employee job satisfaction and job engagement would increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity in the organization through improved and sustainable employee morale.