Dipboye and Colella (2013, p. 93) point out that discrimination in jobs exists where an applicant or employee (employee) seeks preferential care on grounds of ethnicity, religion, disability, age, H.I.V status, political opinion, language, gender, sexual identity, marital status and race or skin colour. The statute, by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), forbids discrimination against permanent workers, prospective hires and future applicants (James, 2007, pp. 629). As such, CCMA holds that any employer whose policy depicts bias or prejudice and favor for and/or against employees on these factors amounting to discrimination is to face the full wrath of the law (Dipboye and Colella , 2013, p. 101). Discrimination elements like gender biasness and others as mentioned above have for a long time led to not only poor departmental performance but also overall failure in the organization (Battu et. al., 2007, p. 649). As such, this paper identifies how such instances have affected the entity and how eliminating them is vital towards good organizational performance and social justice.
Forms of Work Discrimination
Work discrimination can be direct or indirect (Cortina, 2008, p. 56). The former can be identified with ease and entails overt distinctive employee treatment. An instance is when an employer’s policy provides for remunerating of male employees at higher scales than female employees carrying out similar tasks, presenting a scenario of gender discrimination. Battu, Mwale and Zenou (2007, p. 647) observe that in indirect discrimination however, the unfairness is difficult to identify. Here, the policies seem to be neutral yet in real sense are more unfavorable towards particular individuals under the same category.
Religious discrimination entails marginally treating an employee or applicant based on their religious inclination (Greenhouse, 2010, p. 23). The law shields Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism Islam as well as people who possess sincere religious beliefs such as Atheists. This unfavorable treatment can also take the shape of indifferent treatment of an employee who is married or affiliated to an individual associated with the marginalized religion.
Religious prejudice can lead to bad performance in the organization. This vice which can psychologically affect an individual can be in the form of harassment (Zimmer and Sullivan, 2017, pp. 101). An instance is when an employer issues offensive remarks concerning someone’s religious inclination or practices. Harassment amounts to an illegal act when it produces adverse decisions like firing or demoting the employee, even though the law has never considered simple teasing or offhand comments as discrimination. The harassment can come from the victim’s co-worker, supervisor or even customer.
High-profile prejudice settlements have always made big organizations outlay as much as more than one million dollars (Zimmer and Sullivan, 2017, pp. 101). Financial implications do not just merely cause monetary impact in the entity; work productivity, turnover of staff and perception from clients are some of the areas it affects in addition. In job satisfaction or motivation, discriminatory ordeals affect all employees and are not limited to the direct victims. Promotions and benefits ought to be awarded according to qualification and performance (Daley, 2012, pp.123). When personnel consistently see bonuses being awarded based religion, their inspiration to progress within the firm is adversely affected. As such elimination of this vice is necessary to enhance job motivation. When an employer establishes regulations against such prejudice, the entire staff is motivated and work towards achieving the organization’s goals.
Social injustice in the workplace can also be caused by religious favoritism. Since the 9/11 terrorism attack in U.S.A, many entities have discriminated against Muslims Kelly, 2008, pp.49). This amounts to social injustice as it is unfair. Apparel store Abercrombie & Fitch became a federal law violator when it declined to absorb a job applicant who was Muslim, citing the fact that she was wearing a ‘hijab’. The job applied for was that of a merchandise stocker at Abercrombie Kids branch. The 18-year old did not know she would face discrimination while faithfully wearing the colorful headscarf on the day she would be interviewed Cavico and Mujtaba, 2011, pp.295). The manager’s harsh words to her were that she did not portray an ‘Abercrombie look’; he indicated the same words on the ambitious lady’s interview form. EEOC, upon hearing the case, held that the company declined to accommodate religious beliefs of the young applicant and charged the entity accordingly. The firm spent a lot of money on that case and the kid’s section returns were majorly affected that financial year. This case alone depicts that prevention of such a discriminatory act not only leads to good company health but also amount to social justice as Muslim is a recognized international religion.
Age Discrimination and Effect on Organization’s Performance
It is unlawful to put in place policies that mark prejudice against employees due to their age Wood (Wilkinson and Harcourt, 2008. pp.437). During all employment stages, employees of all ages must be fairly treated. This ranges from recruitment, retrenchment, dismissal and pregnancy cases to situations of illness (Roscigno, Mong, Byron and Tester, 2007, pp. 321). Failure to observe age objectiveness can destroy favorable work relationships and cause legal liabilities in the firm. Observation of fair treatment with regards to age leads to a healthy organization.
Losing experience as well as potential, a result of age biasness, can affect the firm negatively Roscigno, Mong, Byron and Tester, 2007, pp. 330). Older employees exhibit more knowledge and work experience as compared to their junior counterparts. As such, these groups of employees should be valued because their period of experience assists the firm, for instance, through training of the junior fraternity. Further, when potential employees of the old experienced age group hear that the entity practices age biasness, they may not apply for jobs there (Kunze, Boehm and Bruch, 2011, pp. 268). As such, young staff are left with no one to guide them, leading to a scenario of ‘learning through mistakes’ which may cause the company to lose millions of dollars.
Being an active employer in terms of age discrimination practices bring about bad perception of the company (Kunze, Boehm and Bruch, 2011, pp. 269). For an entity prejudicing on older personnel, the young ones become cautious and aware that if they reach a certain age, the company will not be able to hold them. Due to this fact, they set their mind that they are only temporary staff. In essence, they do not give their best as they are not inspired by future desires after concluding that they will soon leave the entity. This results into low productivity, reduced commitment and disloyalty as well as high staff turnover as observed by Kunze, Boehm and Bruch (2011, pp.269).
Coca Cola company boats of more than 12 % of its workforce being aged 40 and above (Raman, 2007, pp.109).The firm overlooks age but focuses on skills while hiring. This is one of the factors that have led to the company being the best beverage firm in the whole world, beating its rivals like Pepsi and establishing an almost permanent competitive edge (Hymson, 2011, pp. 31). This particular has attracted skilled workforce in the entity which makes high profits associated with its large pool of skilled and experience workforce.
Sexual Discrimination and how it Affects a Firm’s Performance
Historically, women have been victims to gender-based discrimination (Sun, Aryee, S. and Law, 2007, pp. 570). Cultural stereotypes have at times placed women in the position of specifically mothers or wives who cannot participate in other roles. Women were considered ‘the weaker sex’ in patriarchal America. From such doctrines emanated the opinion of placing female employees as subordinates who cannot rise to the management level, or if they do, cannot earn as much as their male counterparts in the same job group as pointed out by McDonald and Thornton (2007, pp.35)..
Gender discrimination is the most dominant type in entities as observed by McDonald and Thornton (2007, pp.36). Failure to inhibit it results into bad performance overall. Depending on an employer’s response, the impact can be just a little or major. It ranges from unfairness regarding the areas of interview questions, discrimination pay, terminations and promotional bias to position bias.
Gender discrimination creates tension (Chew and Chan, 2008, pp.521). The environment becomes tense when a woman undertaking the same job as men is marginalized. The female staff may become resentful with regards to the pay difference; a male colleague in turn, will even be more uncomfortable even if he did not initiate the unfair treatment. If employers work towards preventing occurrence of such a tense atmosphere, team-work sets in easily hence the firm achieves its targets. Moreover, production decreases with the onset of gender discrimination (McDonald and Thornton, 2007, pp.37). Workers could react by not exploring their full abilities, resulting into lower productivity than would be in an atmosphere that is congenial.
McDonald and Thornton (2007, pp.37) observe that a natural elevation of conflict is one of the first impacts of gender biasness. Unfair treatment from management can lead to staff arguing and fighting for equal grounds in the employment premises. For example, a man working under a woman and is less qualified and experienced to take over her position can be promoted to become her supervisor. This circumstance can lead to friction in that the lady will not take instructions from the newly appointed supervisor whom she views as her junior. As such the company might not achieve good results if this issue is not addressed.
Establishing policies that discourage gender discrimination can assist in reducing employee turnover. This aspect leads to poor organization performance by virtur of fueling turnover. When turnover is too high, the company incurs hidden costs such as job advertisement and recruitment expenses. A victim of sexual discrimination can easily consider resignation as interest in her work declines. These victims are demoralized because of prejudice and develop progressive bad attitude towards their employer. In addition to this, when such cases infiltrate intpo the outside world, bad publicity is created, a factor which gives the company a bad image.
Case Example and how it Affected the Organization’s Performance
A section of McDonald’s employees recently filed lawsuits with respect to sexual offences (McDonald and Charlesworth, 2013, pp. 98). Supervisors faced accusations which claimed they called employees using derogatory names. In addition to this, the complainants purported they were touched at inappropriate places and backed this evidence up by secret pictures taken of the ordeals. Some of the victims got solicited for sexual favors (McDonald and Charlesworth, 2013, pp. 99). This amounted to sexual harassment, presenting a case of social injustice in addition to discrimination. The company lost a big portion of its revenue to settle the legal cases. Workplace discrimination can be prevented or curbed in many ways. Two of these are by the employees themselves or the affected staff (Dipboye and Colella, 2013, p. 93). As such, if only McDonald’s had taken stern action against the perpetrators in time, the female workers would not have filed lawsuits, hence the giant would have saved this portion of its revenue.
Unfair discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, age and religious biasness amongst others must be eliminated if an entity is to achieve good performance and claim it practices social justice. Lack of or inefficient elimination of these factors lead to poor performance in terms of shooting costs related to high turnover, low morale, legal cases, insufficient team work, bad publicity, loss of patronage and low productivity. Therefore, eliminating unfair discrimination is necessary to optimize both organizational performance and social justice.
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