Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

The effects of discrimination in the workplace are shown mainly in two ways. Firstly, discrimination directly deals with the increasing rate of unemployment. Gender discrimination exists in some companies. There are companies that do not employ women, and as a result women have less job opportunities. In addition, age discrimination exists in other companies. Young people may not find jobs after graduation, because some companies think that young people’s lack of experience would not benefit them. Secondly, discrimination results in decline in work efficiency. If a company discriminates against women, consequently this company will lose work balance. Furthermore age discrimination is also harmful to a company. For one, at an older age people have a lot of experience, but young people are full of enthusiasm and ideas, so these two groups are both important for a company.

Racism has been identified as the belief that race is the main determinant of human capabilities, that a certain race is better than others, and that individuals should be treated differently according to their racial designation (Racism, 2010).

The United States has come a long way in defeating discrimination in the workplace but it still has a long way to go. Although many minorities made great steps during the Affirmative Action years, today there is still a very low percentage of minorities in comparison to whites in corporate America. In addition, the graph below shows the percentage of minorities in the workplace, where they got only 34% of the total employment (Chow, 2010).

Racism acts don’t affect the racist himself/herself or only the people working with him/her, it involves the customers and the staff also. As seen in the graph below, the effect of racism is not limited to certain kind of people (Jones, 1996).

The customers should be served in the best way possible no matter where they are from. Some employees may make the company lose many customers because of their actions. In the workplace there has to be harmony between the employees so the work flows easily and work gets done efficiently. But when there is discrimination between the staff, the environment becomes unhealthy, and consequently such actions would affect the company as a whole. For example, when employees are racist against each other, they won’t be helpful to each other, and as a result the work won’t be done effectively.

Discrimination can be caused by many reasons in the work place, such as religion, hatred, and stereotyping. One of the main reasons of discrimination is religion, which can endanger the workplace. Religion may be a sensitive issue, and it might cause conflicts.

Furthermore, in the workplace discrimination could occur just because of hatred. For example, some employees may think that another employee got a raise just because of his race, so they would discriminate and hate him/her.

In the current time, most of the companies hire employees from different nationalities, because of globalization. Moreover, some of the employees may be racist to other nationalities and they would not accept having other nationalities working at the same level as they are.

Moreover, stereotyping is another reason of discrimination. Someone may have had a bad experience with people from a certain region, and as a result this person may discriminate and stereotype anyone from this area because of the past experience.

The consequences for racism in the workplace is massive, it includes lack of work flow, lost customers, and lawsuits. Racism would eliminate the efficiency of the work dynamics, as some employees may not work effectively with others so there will be a lack of the work flow. Furthermore, this might affect the company adversely.

Additionally, if the company has racist employees this will affect the way they treat their customers. Consequently, the operation of the company will be affected, as many customers might feel discriminated or not appreciated and may leave the company and start going to other competitors.

As well, the company might be at risk of racism lawsuits if it acquires racist employees. As a result, this is going to put the company and the employee at jeopardy. Moreover, if the company gets a reputation of race discrimination it would be harmful for its business. The graph below shows the number of discrimination cases filed by category to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (PERFORMANCE RESULTS, 2008).

For a company to survive its business it has to have solutions and preventive measures for racism acts. This could be achieved by awareness by peer review, training, disciplinary acts, and even terminations. Companies that take efforts to attain cultural diversity are open to changes in corporate policies that give incentives for employees who increase productivity in their departments based on cultural diversity. Often, this translates into major changes in corporate policies, such as in engaging in peer reviews over the traditional boss/underling scenario. When managers are reviewed by those underneath them, there is less of a chance that they will engage in racist comments or actions.

Plus, the company should give cultural diversity training to their employees so that they will be aware of their actions and words, that they might think it’s acceptable to say or do but it’s considered racist.

Many times, racism is not a public, overt action. Sometimes, many people who think of themselves as without prejudice may make racist comments without even knowing they made them. They may hear others putting down a fellow worker and take notice but be completely ignorant of their own prejudices and behaviors. Saying something like “you sure are smart for a black man,” or a woman, or a Latino, is the kind of comment where the person usually has no sense of his or her own racism and many times think they had sincerely given the person a compliment. Furthermore, the graph below demonstrates the rate of discrimination while working in most countries around the world (Nita, 2008).

Also, there has to be some kind of disciplinary acts within the company, so employees would be more careful of their actions toward each other, and toward customers. Disciplinary acts is important in such cases as it shows the importance of the issue and that such discriminating actions are not tolerated in the company.

Furthermore, termination is considered as the final result of racism acts. For example, an employee is known of discriminating acts and the disciplinary acts have not shown any improvement in his/her actions. Therefore, termination must be considered so that the work environment would not be affected by such employees, and so that this racist employee would act as an example to all the other employees.

In conclusion, racist are very successful at keeping their actions private, that’s why racism in the workplace still exists. The fact that an employee doesn’t publicly say discriminating words at the workplace does not absolutely mean he has had a change of heart. He still may meet outside of work with his/her colleagues, and engage in racist jokes or put-downs. The basic prejudice is still there, and as long as it is, there can be no comfort taken in the fact that actions in the workplace have changed. A racially-biased attitude remains. People cannot feel comfortable on making progress on discrimination in the workplace until this kind of attitude no longer exists (Racism In The Workplace, 2009).

Chow, L. (2010, January 14). ‘Mad Men’ Haven’t Changed Much Since The 1960s. Retrieved April 03, 2010, from National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122545036

Jones, J. M. (1996). Prejudice and racism. In J. M. Jones, Prejudice and racism. McGraw-Hill Humanities.

Nita. (2008, March 5). Job discrimination at the workplace. Retrieved April 11, 2010, from http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/job-discrimination-at-the-workplace/

PERFORMANCE RESULTS. (2008, November 26). Retrieved April 10, 2010, from The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: http://archive.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/plan/par/2008/performance_results.html

Racism. (2010, April). Retrieved April 02, 2010, from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism

Racism In The Workplace. (2009). Retrieved April 11, 2010, from Knowledge Galaxy: http://www.knowledgegalaxy.net/racism_in_the_workplace/racism_in_the_workplace.html

Wilson, D. C. (2006). When Equal Opportunity Knocks. GALLUP Management Journal , 1-4 

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