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Workplace discrimination can be understood as an inappropriate, unjustifiable treatment towards a person or a set of people at the workplace. Such undesirable treatment is based more often on people's race, ethnicity, age, marital status, sex or other describing characteristics (Australian Human Rights Commission, n.d). Workplace discrimination can give the impression of a repudiation of particular civil liberties, neglectful treatment, deliberate undervaluing of an employee's character or work outcomes and attainments. Workplace discrimination is not only done by the employee but by the fellow employees or peers and other superiors as well. Workplace discrimination, although often not as blatant as in previous periods, continues to proliferate across organizations and on a global level. Fittingly regarded as modern discrimination, discriminatory behavior in the present day is time and again categorized by elusive and clandestine behaviors that can edge below regulations and organizational guidelines (Marchiondo et al., 2015).
Types of Discrimination in the Workplace
Several kinds of discrimination can take place within the workplace setting. More so, with globalization and multiculturalism prevailing across the globe, new forms of discrimination in the workplace have sprung up without being apparent. One of the prevailing forms of discrimination within the workplace across the globe has been that based on gender. Irrespective of evolving regulations that promote equality within the workplace, the menace of discrimination continues, though subdued (Adja-Kwaku et al., 2013). In the present times, female workforce still does not measure up to the male workforce with regard to remuneration, employment rates, and assortment of occupations. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (2015), full-time working female employees 80 cents on every dollar earned by male employees. In most nations across the globe, there continues to be a glass ceiling and wage differences.
Another form of discrimination is based on age. In the present day workforce, there is a wrong perspective that older employees have enjoyed their time and therefore should leave and make room for young employees. It is imperative to note that age discrimination in the work setting takes place when one worker is treated differently from another owing to his or her age. This has even instigated a law proscribing the discrimination of employees over the age of 40 years. Another form of discrimination across the world is that of ethnic and racial discrimination. For instance, in the Americas and European region, discrimination can be centered on race, for instance, African-Americans getting less work prospects compared to Whites. On the other hand, in expanses such as Africa, there are several instances of ethnic discrimination with people favoring individuals from their respective ethnic community (Darity Jr. and Mason, 2004). Other forms of discrimination are based on sexual orientation by harassing or discriminating against a person based on his or her sexual preferences. In particular, in recent periods, with laws sexual orientation laws being legislated, a new form of discrimination that is considered is that against a person's sexual orientation. For instance, today, the LGBT community continue to face discrimination due to their sexual orientation, an aspect that should not be permissible (International Labor Organization, 2016).
Impact and Implication
Poor Work Setting
The major adverse impacts of workplace discrimination is the adverse working environment that it generates. The workplace of the present 21st Century is progressively becoming multicultural, and occurrences of discrimination dishearten and depress not only the victim but also a substantial number of employees that relate with the victim's group. This gives rise to a workplace culture of distrust, caginess, resentment, aggression and enmity amid the personnel. In the end the employees can form cliques, which implies that there is a lack of unity amongst them. All of these advancements propagate negative ambiances and damage relationships at work, particularly the free flow of communications and cooperation, hindering the smooth functioning of the organization. Research undertaken has indicated that workplace discrimination leads to low job satisfaction (Scheid, 2010), thus affecting overall outcomes.
Loss of Work Concentration and Productivity
Another adverse impact of workplace discrimination encompass the loss of focus, concentration and time wastage. Discrimination within the workplace setting not only takes away the concentration of the individual facing discrimination, but also has a tendency to remove the focus away from organizational activities that need to be prioritized. In particular, the considerable amount of time and firm resources that are spent on deliberating on discrimination, debating on it, and executing counteractive measures could be better utilized laying emphasis on core organizational activities (Scheid, 2010). In addition, discriminatory manners progressively wear down the workplace setting, generating a climate where personnel feel undervalued and demeaned.
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This causes the personnel to not only have a sense of appreciation but to also lack the motivation to undertake their best work. The implication of this is a breakdown of employee collaboration and therefore diminish employee and organizational productivity (Williams, 2016).
As aforementioned, workplace discrimination causes employees to have a sense of not being appreciated leading to very low job dissatisfaction. As a result, these personnel who feel that the work atmosphere encompasses the unfair treatment of employees will most probably opt to leave the organization at the earliest. Moreover, if workplace discrimination is prevalent and pervasive within the organization, personnel may perceive it as an aspect that is already deeply entrenched in the organizational culture that they are unable to maneuver it. In such instances, they might not attempt to make the circumstances work favorably. Rather, they may begin pursuing other work prospects instantaneously, generating a dynamic where work force in the company come and leave in a frequent manner. This high turnover does have a toll on the experience of the workforce as it becomes challenging to keep up with the constant hiring and training. What is more, the financial outlay necessitated to not only recruit, employ and train new personnel can have a considerable strain on the company's financial position (Williams, 2016).
Lawsuits and Legal Action
Workplace discrimination is a direct violation of federal and state laws across the globe. For instance, in accordance to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it is proscribed to discriminate in terms of conditions of employment based on color, sex, race, national origin, religion and age. Discrimination is also prohibited against individuals with disabilities world. For instance, based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are obligated to make practical and evenhanded accommodations to facilitate disabled persons to attain accessibility to buildings and workplace functionality. Moreover, based on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers are not allowed to discriminate against personnel taking care of personal or family medical necessities. Globally, there are numerous other federal and state laws that challenge workplace discrimination. It is through these laws that companies are expected to establish work policies that proscribe discrimination. Failure to develop and executive these laws or to preclude occurrences of workplace discrimination can give rise to employees taking legal action and filing discriminatory lawsuits against the organization (Scheid, 2010).
Poor Company Image
Workplace discrimination tend to have a detrimental impact on the image and reputation of the company. As is well known, word travels fast. When dissatisfied and disgruntled employees leave the company in search of better work prospects, such word propagates quickly and widely thereby harming the reputation of the organization. In turn, this can have an adverse impact with consumers having more sympathy and relating to the victims of discrimination shunning the products and services rendered by the company. In the long-run, this can negatively impact the revenue and profit stream of the organization (Scheid, 2010).
Adverse Impact on Individuals
Workplace discrimination impacts not only the organization as a whole or employees as a lot, but also has a negative impact on the individual in several ways. One of the implications of workplace discrimination on the individual is its harm on physical health. In accordance to Pavalko et al. (2003), psychosomatic suffering, blood pressure and self-assessed health may be the most impacted by the stress created by either a key discriminatory occasion for instance responses to protracted day-to-day discrimination in the workplace. In addition, according to Sutherland & Harrell (1986), racial discrimination within the workplace can be causal to increased circulatory reactivity. Stressors linked to workplace discrimination acknowledged that is led to the deterioration in physical health as individuals became unable to properly communicate with fellow employees and managers. Other causes included lack of respect, gender discrimination, and employees being enforced to maintain happy and healthy relationships despite facing discrimination.
According to Adja-Kwaku et al. (2013), the detrimental impacts of workplace discrimination on people's physical health have also taken place in other parts of the world. In Europe, there have been reported instances of stress signs owing to factors such as discrimination, sexual aggravation, intimidation and physical vehemence, thereby having a negative impact on their….....
ADJA-KWAKU, C., ADDAE, C., NKANSAH, J., & NYARKO APPIAH, F. (2013). Workplace Discrimination and its Impact on Employee Performance (Doctoral dissertation).
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Darity Jr., W. A., & Mason, P. L. (2004). Evidence on discrimination in employment: Codes of color, codes of gender. In African-American Urban Experience: Perspectives from the Colonial Period to the Present (pp. 156-186). Palgrave Macmillan US.
Institute for Women's Policy Research. (2015). About Pay Equity & Discrimination. Retrieved from: http://www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discrimination
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Marchiondo, L., Ran, S., & Cortina, L. (2015). Modern discrimination. In The Oxford Handbook of Workplace Discrimination.
Pavalko, E. K., Mossakowski, K. N., & Hamilton, V. J. (2003). Does perceived discrimination affect health? Longitudinal relationships between work discrimination and women's physical and emotional health. Journal of Health and social Behavior, 18-33.'
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Williams, E. (2016). The Effects of Discrimination in the Workplace. The Nest. Retrieved from: http://woman.thenest.com/effects-discrimination-workplace-2514.html