Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

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Abstract

Acts of structural discrimination in the company are disheartening and should be discouraged. It is should be noted that the company is legally liable for encouraging structural discrimination which is based on race and gender. The company has the opportunity to discourage racial discrimination by establishing a policy against the vice.

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However, such an initiative requires inclusivity and participation of all stakeholders. Diversity training and using an anti-racial management strategies are the most appropriate ways of eradicating the vice. Nonetheless, the company’s accountability in such issues is profound and the management’s commitment in preventing racial discrimination should be a priority.

Introduction

Case evaluation

The culture of structural discrimination is evidenced in the organization. Maria’s subjection to structural discrimination by the organization’s racial favoritism. In this context, the organization appreciates efforts and hard work from Maria as a Latina, but not as an American. The organization has an embedded culture of favoring employees who have the Anglo ancestry.

The organization does not perceive Latina minorities as highly respectable in the business world. In this regard, Maria is not promoted because of her color and language. In addition, the dismissal in Maria’s job evaluation implies that the organization encourages individual discrimination which is sometimes based on gender and personality.

The fact that Maria is the only female in the department raises various questions in regards to gender balance in the workplace. From this perspective, it is evident that the organization favors men over women. Moreover, prejudicial attitudes towards Maria and female employees from a minority ethnic group is an issue of concern for the organization.

The management structure has a prejudicial attitude toward the Latin-speaking people. The management sees Maria as a loud and aggressive worker, and who is not a team-player. Already, the organization does not promote cultural cohesiveness through team-building. Lack of cultural competency and policies that develop employees is a constant feature in the organization. The organization does not see Maria as an important representation of the organization to the public.

In this context, the managers alleges that Maria’s communication skills are essential for business and the job position in question. The following discussion is revolves around the consequences for the organization’s discrimination actions and strategies to prevent the same in the future.

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Consequences

First, the organization’s actions amount to unfair treatment of Maria. Maria been deprived her rights as an employee of the organization. Maria’s treatment is subject to gender discrimination which violates international labor laws. Federal laws under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discourages any form of sex discrimination in the workplace (Burstein, 1998).

In this context, it is wrong for the organization to discriminate Maria in the form of job assignments, promotions and employment benefits because she is a woman from Latino ancestry. The fact that Maria is the only female employee in the respective department is a sign of gender imbalance in the workplace. The organization’s policies has instituted practices and managerial structures that does not offer Maria with an equal opportunity to progress as an employee.

The organization’s lack of practices that address legal obligations towards employees with caregiving responsibilities is an issue of concern. In this issue, the organization is legally liable to ensure that Maria’ position in the company and equal opportunity is not compromised by the family responsibilities.

The deep-rooted prejudicial attitudes against the Latinos is manifested in the form of structural discrimination. In any case, such practices are prohibited under the Civil Rights Act and EEOC’s laws and regulations. The organization practicing such acts of discrimination risks legal action in a federal or labor court.

Although the company has predetermined expectations from the employees, depriving workers the opportunity to communicate with customers is illegal. It is obvious that the company target customers that are multiethnic and do not necessary speak fluent English. To improve on customer influence, diversifying the personnel that interacts with the customers is necessary.

Structure discrimination fosters racial hatred and prejudice against the minority and deprive enjoyment of human rights (Human Rights Education Associates, 2014; Harvey & Allard, 2014). Importantly, structural discrimination is a critical factor in influencing employees’ performances (Harvey & Allard, 2014). Therefore, developing organizational policies that address cultural diversity is critical in countering racial or structural discrimination.

Strategies to prevent structural discrimination

Company accountability

The company has to initiate accountability in incorporating non-discriminatory policies as part of the organizational culture. In this context, the company must be accountable to all federal and labor laws associated with employment (Hess, 2007). In this context, the company must exhibit high level of accountability to non-discrimination through leadership, cultural practices, communication and stakeholder participation.

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Through an internal audit mechanism, the company can assess its performance in regard to employment issues. The company’s partnership with law agencies against discrimination is a sign of accountability and commitment to end the vice in the workplace. Moreover, the commitment to non-discrimination can be evidenced from a shared organizational vision, effective communication among departments, and gender and racial balance in work positions.

The company can initiate accountability and readiness for non-discrimination policies through professional development and training. Developing punitive measures against discriminatory acts across the organization structures is critical for this commitment. Educating employees about use of racially discriminating words and actions is necessary to develop the non-discrimination culture (Hess, 2007). Nonetheless, the existence of a department that provides leadership for the company’s accountability towards non-discrimination is vital to this process.

Therefore, a designated department that draws membership across departments should be mandated with the responsibility of planning and enforcing non-dissemination policies, goals, outcomes and evaluation.

Diversity training

The aim of diversity of training is to impact the employees’ cognitive, skill-based and knowledge aspects. In order to eradicate structural or racial discrimination in the company, cultural awareness training is necessary (Paluck, 2007). The importance of cultural awareness training is that the process is fact-centered and empowers employees about world cultures.

In fact, this form of training provides accurate information about foreign cultures in manner that improves self-awareness and tolerance of other people and practices. From this perspective, it is easier to eradicate ignorance among employees.

The company can use anti-racism training to eradicate stereotyping of the employees. In this context, employees are taught that whiteness as hegemonic racial identity is not dominant or superior to other races.

Diversity training and a focus on racial identity can help employees access the company resources and power without discrimination. However, it is critical that diversity training does not perpetuate stereotyping in static forms. This is to ensure that dominant cultures are not portrayed as oppressive, therefore, resulting to individual discrimination.

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Awareness and attitude learning

Awareness and attitude learning is part of diversity training aiming at propagating self-realization (Paluck, 2007). Self-realization is critical in impacting employees with skills that dispel myths associated with minority groups. Awareness and attitude learning empowers employees with knowledge about characteristics of minority groups.

However, this strategy ensures that employees from minority groups are trained about homogenous races. From this perspective, employees gain knowledge that is crucial in molding behavioral change. The importance of behavioral change in the organization is that employees accept each other as people from different backgrounds, races and cultures.

Training on differences and commonalities

It is not enough to train employees about minority groups. Such an approach promotes negativity associated with stereotyping (Paluck, 2007). In this regard, educating employees about common features found in different cultures is essential. In this context, cultural assimilation realized for the common good of the company. On the other hand, employees also appreciate each other through differentiation since cultural and individual identity is acknowledged.

Building cross-cultural capabilities

This initiative is best developed by the human resource department. In this context, the human resource builds teamwork based on racial representation (Gregory, 2003). The idea is to promote harmony and cohesiveness in the workplace. Moreover, the strategy eliminates racial discrimination especially in major decision-making departments. Moreover, talents and ideas are harnessed through diverse cultural capabilities.

Attract, retain and motivation strategy

It is the obligation of the company’s human resource department to source a workforce that is diversified in terms of personality, experiences, skills and knowledge. Although this process is essential during hiring of the employees, a plan on how to retain the diversified human resource is equally important. Therefore, establishing employees’ growth and development programs that seek to reward the performing workers is important. Employees’ rewards are important for retaining and motivating the workers especially through promotion and salaries.

Cross-cultural communication

Employee training on how to handle language barriers is essential in eliminating racial-discrimination (Gardberg & Fombrun, 2006). Developing a standard language policy in the company is not enough since not all employees can be fluent in one language. Therefore, establishing programs that promote cross-cultural communication is important. In this regard, the company will endorse the use of multi-languages that every employee will understand (Gregory, 2003).

In this context, the human resource department can pick one or two dominant languages according to employee racial representation and outsource language instructors to offer free lesson on the same.

Conclusion

Using the anti-racial discrimination management strategy is effective in ensuring that the company does not operate under the risk of the vice (Jarrett & Furman, 2014). In this regard, the department or committee in charge of ant-racial discrimination policy can develop five principles to create a favorable working environment (Paludi, 2012).

The first principle is to entrench the culture of no tolerance to structural discrimination. In this respect, an action of racial discrimination is to be reported and subjected to punitive measures. The second principle is to encourage managers and employees to always be observant about issues of racial discrimination. In this context, managers and employees are to recognize acts of discrimination and immediately report the same to authorities upon verification of the factual details.

The third principle is encouraging open communication in the workplace. The fourth principle is about managerial empathy that is essential for understanding the employees’ feelings. Apparently, employees that are subjected to racial discrimination are misunderstood in terms of personal and professional needs. The finally principle is encouraging acts of fairness that promote respect and dignity for racially discriminated employees.

References

Burstein, P. (1998). Discrimination, jobs, and politics: The struggle for equal employment opportunity in the United States since the New Deal. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Gardberg, N. A. & Fombrun, C. J. (2006). Corporate citizenship: Creating intangible assets across institutional environments. Academy of management Review, 31(2), 329-346.

Gregory, R. F. (2003). Women and Workplace Discrimination: Overcoming Barriers to Gender Equality. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Harvey, C & Allard, M. J. (2014). Understanding and Managing Diversity: Readings, Cases, and Exercises. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Limited.

Hess, D. (2007). Social reporting and new governance regulation: The prospects of achieving corporate accountability through transparency. Business Ethics Quarterly, 453-476.

Human Rights Education Associates. (2014). The rights of ethnic and racial minorities. Retrieved from http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=142

Jarrett, V. & Furman, J. (2014). Taking action on workplace equality. Wall Street Journal, p. 1A.

Paluck, E. L. (2006). Diversity training and intergroup contact: A call to action research. Journal of Social Issues, 62(3), 577-595.

Paludi, M. A. (2012). Managing Diversity in Today’s Workplace: Strategies for Employees and Employers. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.

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