Diversity and Discrimination in the Workplace
Workplace discrimination occurs when a person is treated unequally or unfairly due to specific characteristics. These characteristics may include age, sex, ethnicity, national origin, disability, or religion. It does not necessarily come from employees but also from coworkers and people from the same ranks. Unfortunately, diversity plays an important role in the workplace, acknowledging individual strengths and potential. Unfortunately, people might not notice the discrimination until it affects them. Overall, discrimination is real and present in the United States (U.S.), with various programs to address it.
(M)Discrimination is evident in the legal profession, and the impact is heavier on women. The law is given an upper hand, with lawyers in the governing class. They constitute an aristocracy and live elevated social and cultural statuses. One might expect lawyers to be in the first line to pursue diversity and equality, being a big part of law enforcement. (E)However, according to Eli (2011), socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial, and disabled minorities are underrepresented in the profession. He adds that while women make up almost half of the national law students and a significant number of growing American lawyers, they suffer inequalities, securing few jobs in the upper echelons. (A)Unfortunately, lawyers would judge the employer if an employer was found guilty of unfair discrimination treatment. If discrimination exists in the legal profession, it is hard to believe that lawyers can work on such cases fairly. (L)Overall, discrimination is deeply integrated into this profession, creating questions about other professions outside the legal sector.
Discrimination has also been evident in the franchising sector for years, even with increased diversity awareness, incentives, and programs to improve participation by minorities. McMillian and Baker (2008) explain that this discrimination follows three franchise actions. It can be in the form of nonrenewal or termination of a franchise contract, disapproval of a relocation request, or rejection of an application. In other words, when a franchisee feels that the minority status is selectively applying a policy that might lead to penalty, sanction, or rejections, a discrimination claim mostly follows. McMillian and Baker (2008) also mention section 1981, which prohibits racial discrimination in making, modifying, and performing contacts, including franchises. While it does not involve other forms of discrimination, there have been numerous discrimination in 1981 statute claims in the US (McMillian & Baker, 2008). The reporting shows a problem of discrimination in this sector, expanding its coverage in the workplace. As a result, businesses have faced hardships while achieving diversity in the workplace, even with programs for a diverse environment.
Discrimination exists in how employers and leaders make decisions in the workplace. Green (2010) argues that there is a reason to believe that leaders consciously and voluntarily consider the sex and race of employees as they organize their work. For example, they have to know who should be placed in the market to deal with clients, handle interviews, and participate in recruiting committees. These decisions, among others, are based on how and by whom work is done rather than on who was employed first or where an employee is placed in the job hierarchy (Green, 2010). Green continues to say that giving diversity some weight in the workplace and creating a diverse workforce contributes greatly economically and can help businesses get ahead. Businesses can take advantage of diverse and globalized markets and enjoy various national and international workforce benefits. More informed and strategic decisions can be made when solutions from employees of different backgrounds are joined. Therefore, it is not smart to make work decisions by looking at specific characteristics. Discrimination is broad, and some leaders may be victims to it, failing their companies.
Increasing discrimination issues have not gone unanswered, as many programs have been developed to address the issue. According to Green, studies show significant changes in organizational approaches toward diversity (2010). The studies have, for instance, recorded a significant change to have diversified management in business schools and other programs, with some firms adopting diversity rhetoric. Additionally, private firms have adopted several practices to manage diversity, including diversity workforce and committees, evaluations, and diversity training (Green, 2010). Some have realized the benefits of having a diverse workforce, while others fear statutes such as the 1981 statute, which has solved numerous discrimination cases, especially in the franchise business (McMillian & Baker, 2008). Leslie et al. (2020) suggest dealing with discrimination through colorblindness. However, they argue that colorblindness stresses reducing differences in the workplace by ignoring people with specific characteristics. However, they add that doing so would not be realistic and does not acknowledge or align with efforts to address issues facing minorities. Leslie et al. (2020) conclude that while colorblindness can be a solution, it should be the last because it adds no value in business or teamwork. Even as organizations strive to beat discrimination out of the workplace, they should be careful about their methods.
Most organizations want to solve the problem of diversity, but they fail to handle the problem from its foundations. They have the wrong idea of correcting discrimination, which might be the reason for continued cases besides extensive awareness. Wald (2011) gives an example in the legal profession, saying that law schools pursue diversity narrowly concerning their student bodies. Firstly, they focus more on racial diversity, including Black students, and subsequently increase the number of Hispanics and Native Americans. While these efforts are slightly effective, the organizations forget the national origin, sex, and other forms of discrimination. In other words, they have not put enough effort into capturing discrimination’s whole picture. Secondly, while increasing the number of black Americans in law schools, the efforts die in admission decisions (Wald, 2011). They have failed to address under-representation in the later stages, such as pursuing diversity among graduates or helping minority students in job placements. Schools do very little to support minority students, even as others struggle to pass bar exams, graduate, and find high-status legal positions. Overall, diversity initiatives end at the admission stage, having very little in students’ later life.
Conclusively, discrimination undoubtfully exists in most organizations, whether they know it or not. It has even found its way into the legal profession, where discrimination cases are reported and solved. There is a problem with organizations trying to address discrimination in the workplace, especially because they lack enough information. They, therefore, do not approach discrimination in the right way, hence the ineffectiveness of their programs. Most of the awareness is made during admission in law schools and then stops there, with little assessment of its application after graduation. Also, more focus is on racial discrimination, which blinds initiatives from other forms such as religion and national origin. Diversity is important in the workplace, and companies should strive to create a diverse environment. Even with increased awareness, businesses and associated schools need to reassess their efforts and remove the weaknesses to make significant progress in the future.
Green, K.T. (2010). Race and sex in or race and sex in organizing work: Diversity, discrimination, and integration. Emory Law Journal, 59(3), 586-647. Web.
Leslie, L. M., Bono, J. E., Kim, Y. S., & Beaver, G. R. (2020). On melting pots and salad bowls: A meta-analysis of the effects of identity-blind and identity-conscious diversity ideologies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 105(5), 453.
McMillian, C.W. & Baker, K.J. (2008). Discrimination claims and diversity initiatives: what’s a franchisor to do? American Bar Association, 28(2), 71-78, 96-101. Web.
Wald, E. (2011). A primer on diversity, discrimination, and equality in the legal profession or who is responsible for pursuing diversity and why. Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, 24(4), 1079-1142. Web.