Discrimination at Workplaces


Racism is a global issue which roots trace back to many years ago, when some countries driven by nationalistic feelings and interests invaded the other territories with the aim of colonizing the natives and turning them into their slaves. The problem worsened with the formation of colonial governments, such as the apartheid that oppressed the local South African people. The vice is evident in the daily aspects of living as it exists in a variety of contexts that include churches, schools, hospitals, hotel facilities, recreation facilities, and roads among others. The issue does not affect a particular race only, because it varies from one place to another in different contexts. However, the oppressor is always the majority, while the victim is the minority, and this depicts the significance of dominance in racism. However, the workplace is the most significant context of discrimination, because work is essential for people to survive and thus many people earn a living through employment as compared to entrepreneurship. Employees deserve job opportunities, favorable work environments as well as commensurate and just remuneration as a reward for their effort. Many organizations that consist of multiracial staff members tend to treat their members differently and thus favoring people of the preferred complexion. The research paper aims at defining racism and venturing further into the way people are discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of their race.


Racism refers to the practices as well as beliefs that attempt to rationalize or create disparities in the distribution/allocation of rights, privileges, goods or services among people of a different complexion. The habit is mainly based on people’s perception of different biological traits that forms the basis in which people attach perceived natural inferiority or superiority of different races (Newman, 2012). Racism discrimination can be based on both ethnical and cultural factors. However, racial superiority or inferiority is not scientifically authenticated, and thus it is based on myths and stereotypes. However, there is no agreement as to whether the unintentional forms of racial discrimination, such as stereotypes and symbolic discrimination, should be included in the definition of the issue as most of the definitions entail the plainly seen forms (Kevin, Stephen and Angola, 2003).  

The managers of organizations perpetrate the vice for various reasons and these could be: safeguarding their own interests, retaining their positions, and sustaining an environment where they are surrounded by people they trust or the ones they share common understanding with. The administration thus rewards the representatives of their race with all or the majority of organizational benefits. The vice is to blame for the former racist/apartheid government of South Africa as well as the slave trade that took place in West Africa crossing the Atlantic Ocean into Europe (Kevin, Stephen and Angola, 2003). Segregation based on the skin color exists in all aspects of life and it is treated with condemnation all over the world by individuals as well as civil society organizations. In the United States, the adoption of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 is an example of the government’s effort to eradicate racism at workplaces. The law forbids the employers from inclining to color, sex, race, national origin or religion bias when dealing with employees. The Act went a mile ahead to enhance the war against the vice by establishing the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to probe the allegations of violation of the law.

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The Ways in which Employers Discriminate Against Workers

Unjust Practices During Hiring

Irregularities during recruitment often appear whereby the recruiting panel tends to favor the preferred race. The issue denies the members of the unwanted race of the right to employment as well as exacerbating racial imbalance in employment. The vice is perpetrated through unfair interviews whereby the candidates from the preferred race are asked simpler questions as compared to their unwanted counterparts. According to Bertrand and Mullainathan (2004), many employers in the United States do not fairly review job applications for all candidates as the white candidates are likely to be favored even before they attend the interview to prove their capabilities. This problem, however, does not exclusively happen in the United States as racism is a global affair and thus it could be found in every country. The issue downtrends the essence of job qualifications as employers shift from the norm to the unjustified criteria of skin color which has no scientific justification to prove its efficacy.

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Bias in Promotion and Layoff

Unfair promotion and retention of workers also happen in the current field of employment, because workers are unfairly evaluated in favor of the preferred race. The representatives of the preferred race are, therefore, irregularly awarded promotions and thus, disadvantaging the rest. In many organizations, white supervisors are likely to recommend their fellow white workers for promotion without proper justification while locking out their black counterparts in an unjust manner (Stauffer and Buckley, 2005). The same unfairness also applies in layoff whereby the black employees are likely to be discontinued from working as opposed to the whites, and this is done without a proper consideration of performance or the level of qualifications (Wilson, 2005). The criteria for assessment of an individual’s performance, therefore, shift from competence to complexion thus manifesting unfairness in the organizations.

Biased Remuneration

Some organizations reportedly offer lower starting salaries for fresh recruits of the unwanted races. The wage disparities continue even after the probation periods and the inequality might apply till the retirement age. According to Kim (2007), white people in some companies earn approximately 1/3 more than the black counterparts and almost a half more than the black women. The approximate interracial wage inequalities add up to 30% thus exposing the unjust treatment of workers according to their skin color, whereas the wage determinant should be decided based on such issues such as the level of qualifications, job group as well as the performance of the employee.

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Division of Work

On issues to do with the division of work and specialization, some benefits are associated with different tasks. Some of these benefits are allowances, better working conditions or environment, off time, length of workday, and outside trips among others. Some organizations may reserve tasks with more benefits for the preferred race, while the workers from the other races are unlawfully denied the opportunities. Some theories that have no scientific proof are apparently used to rationalize the evil and these include perceived interracial disparities in knowledge/competence/skills, different choice/preference of work as well as the stereotypes associated with some races. All these theories lead to disparity in working conditions between the interracial work force and thus perpetration of racial inequality in such organizations.

Retaliatory Treatment against Employees

The management of some organizations may punish potential or real employees of the unwanted race through the denial of employment, suspension, dismissal, denial of promotion as retaliation for complaining against alleged or evident racial prejudice. The move is aimed at muffling the members of the race from airing their dissatisfaction or complaints. Due to the fear of this retaliation, the victims of prejudice may choose to keep quiet and persevere with the harassment or resign and seek employment elsewhere, and thus the move might systematically get rid of the undesired race through punishments imposed for far-fetched allegations of misconduct.

Disparate Treatment

Disparate treatment entails treating a particular race as immune to racial prejudice as compared to others. Management of some firms may give a certain race an upper hand during recruitment and this may be done through biased advertisement for job opportunities whereby the vacant positions are publicized in the dwellings that are dominated by the preferred race. An organization may adopt policies that conflicts with the beliefs of the unwanted race with the aim of compelling them to violate their culture or quit working in the firm. For instance, an organization that discriminates against Arabs and Sikhs may adopt policies that do not allow wearing of turbans, while a firm that does not desire the original inhabitants of America may prohibit long hair thus oppressing or indirectly getting rid of the target race (French, 2003).

Disparities in the Working Environment

The unequal treatment of people of different races at a workplace is also depicted by the working environment accorded to the members of different complexions. The areas of work dominated by the undesired people may be neglected in various ways, such as the failure to renovate them or to improve the conditions that increase workers’ comfort. The group of people may be harassed through harshness by the supervisors or their work mates, insults, prejudicial jokes, and teasing among others. The communications department may also deliberately fail to inform the target group about the upcoming company events, such as dinners, sports or the other activities and thus deliberately lock them out of these events.


In conclusion, racism is a very significant matter in the contemporary world, since such extreme cases as mass shootings or massacres inspired by racial hatred continue to gain popularity in the United States, especially in schools and churches (Duwe and Grant, 2013). The current trend that leads to racial discrimination in some workplaces is worrying, because complexion is replacing competence as the standard for evaluating one’s capabilities and competence. The vice, therefore, leads to the denial of employment of the undesired races, denial of promotion and unfair dismissal, unjust remuneration of labor, biased allocation of tasks, disparate treatment as well as unjust work and working environment. The trend leads to absolute unfairness in the racist organizations and it further culminates into the demoralization of workers. Though it might not be reported, sexual harassment based on racial identity could also be rampant at workplaces and thus the issue of prejudice based on skin color needs comprehensive measures so as to return the normalcy in the interpersonal relations ethics.

However, the formation of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission under the Civil Rights Act 1964 to check the racial bias in the field of employment by investigating complaints and addressing the case through prosecution of the perpetrators among other ways is an example of the government effort to contain the trend. However, the rights of employees should be strengthened so as to enable them to report the cases of prejudicial treatment in their organizations and this requires shielding them against retaliation by the management of the firms. The commission should also liaise with the labor unions to advocate for workers’ rights and to vet all the employers to ensure that they all comply with the law. Hefty penalties should be imposed on those found guilty, and in extreme cases the employees who depict racist tendencies should be dismissed from work or be suspended for a given period under which they should be put under probation to monitor their behavior.



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