Unfair treatment of employees has been discouraged in all lines of jobs with various legislations being put up in different countries to protect the rights of the employees. Any action that may be considered to be prejudice to an employee is discouraged. This may include unfair demotion or firing without concrete reason and failure to hire someone on the basis of their race. Discrimination can be direct or indirect according to the one who is doing it. Sometimes, the treatment that one receives is not fair when compared to the one that other people are receiving. In our case study, Maria, who is of Latino origin, alleges that she was unfairly eliminated for consideration for a promotion the reason being her distinctive accent. She is a second-generation native-born American citizen with a graduate degree. She has served in the company for ten years and she has been in the current position for seven years. This means that she has to be treated as any other citizen and the allegation that she was disqualified for a promotion on the basis of her accent should be addressed as a case of racial discrimination in the workplace. On top of that, it should be established whether the discrimination should have been based on her gender which has been discouraged over the years.
Alex, the individual who got the promotion has served for few years at the company and also in the given position. He has better job evaluations than Maria. Maria is also quick to note that on top of being the only woman in the department, she is also the only person of her color in that department. Therefore, she claims that there is n inbuilt bias on the side of the male supervisors who are responsible for hiring and promoting individuals in the departments. Her supervisor once told her that she was barred from the promotion on the fear that if she was promoted, it would be hard for the clients in the company to understand her accent. However, on their defense, the supervisors claim that she is often absent and exhibit tardiness.
Discrimination in the workplace is defined as the treatment that is not fair to a given individual on the basis of her race, religion, gender or color. This is seen in situations such as hiring, retrenching where individuals of a particular origin or religion may be targeted, or in promotions where for example a certain gender may be barred from obtaining the positions in a given department such as Maria is being treated. The supervisors claim that Maria has issues with tardiness and attendance and tardiness. She has already been counseled for tardiness and also apprehended for her attendance after it almost reached a crisis. She has also been aggressive to her co-workers which poses the question on her behavior in case she was promoted. However, we realize that she has explained the attendance problems with her needed attention at home in the situations where one of the relatives required specialized care from her.
The position that Maria claims to have been denied requires someone who talks well and clearly and considering her case where she talks fast and makes it hard for someone to understand her, it can be justified that she was not the best candidate for the position. However, that alone should not be used to rule out the probable discrimination case that would have been the case and barred her from being promoted. Considering that she is the only woman in the department and the only from her race, it shows that the white supervisors have been avoiding certain individuals on the basis of their race and gender. This is, therefore, a case of workplace discrimination (Gregory, 2002). The company has the legal and constitutional right to decide on the individuals who hold various positions. If they feel that her accent will hinder her from communicating effectively and therefore, affect the job negatively, they are in a position to deny her the chance for a promotion. This should however apply to any other individual and not just her. In case it happens, then it should be considered as a case of structural and individual discrimination.
An employee can be turned down on their vocal accent if the position they are to hold will affect the way they deliver to the customers. In a position that Maria claims to have been denied a promotion to hold, the individual who holds it must be a person who is able to communicate well with the customers and the fact that Maria is often too vocal and aggressive rules her out of the race. However, the case of her race can come as an added disadvantage if the supervisors link her aggression to her race. There are no women in the department and so she views that as a deliberate move by the supervisors and the human resource personnel in the section to bar out the women who can also deliver in the same capacity as the men in the positions up for grabs.
In the United States for example, the Discrimination Law was derived from the common law and it defines the rights that an employee have and protects them from any instance where they can be discriminated. On top of that, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is categorical that no employee should be subjected to unfair treatment on the basis of their race, gender, religion or color. Therefore, the number of employees in the subject department should depict a fair distribution of both gender as well as a fair distribution of the races and the color of people who are present in the contemporary society. There should be a follow up or an audit done on the employment strategy that is used to establish whether females and Latinos who have qualified may have been denied the chance to work in the section. This can be used to prosecute the human resource officers who have been mandated with the task of hiring new employees. Therefore, considering the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which has been subjected to a number of amendments, no one should be discriminated on the basis of their race, sex, religion, nationality, age, or pregnancy if it does not directly affect their working performance (Player, 2001). In case it is affecting their performance, the correct protocol should be employed to make the individual understand that and not just fire them or deny them the chance to serve at a given capacity.
Causes of Discrimination
The discrimination that Maria has been subjected to can be attributed to a number of reasons. As we have learnt. Maria is the only female in her department. Therefore, she may be finding it hard to relate with other employees who are of the opposite gender. On top of that in a solely male environment, the males may be chauvinistic and therefore, prompt her to turn aggressive as she has been accused of in a number of instances. This can be due to the burnout or the approach that the men use when addressing her. Therefore, instead of being fast to judge or rule her for aggression and failure to attend a number of the sessions, they should first establish the reason behind her aggressive behavior as it could be the only resort to handle the advancing men who could be using bad language to address or to belittle her.
Maria is the only colored employee in her department and so she feels that the supervisors are not fair in giving out jobs to other Latinos. Being a lady and who is prone to depression issues she can be so vulnerable to esteem issues which can prompt her to use an aggressive tone while addressing the members of the opposite gender who are her only fellow employees. Her poor attendance record has been explained by the fact that she has some family members who rely on her for the care. Being a lady, the supervisors should be ready to handle such cases and we are not told whether she had tried to solicit for permission without avail. In such situations, and considering that she may be having a family to tend to, they should probe and come up with the facts surrounding the situation. If it is a case of negligence, then she can be rightfully denied the chance but if it is justified, then she should be considered for a promotion and the supervisors made responsible for the psychological distress they have caused her. Discrimination kills team spirit (Dipboye & Colella, 2005).
The consequences of her actions have led to her being dismissed or to be disqualified for the promotion. However, the consequences are not founded on any concrete allegations as the case of tardiness and attendance should be addressed in a better way. Being aggressive to fellow employees can be explained by the fact that there are no female employees whom she can share with and so cases of psychological distress are high. Gender discrimination is evident as there is no way that only males qualify for the positions in the department. Both genders should be given the same treatment when it comes to consideration for the nob positions (Rhode, 2009). Therefore, instead of pinning down the drawbacks that could be due to the treatment she is being accorded they should first address the issue of gender and racial discrimination.
In this case, it is hard to establish a case of individual and structural discrimination due to the requirements that the company sets for an individual to be promoted. Therefore, to avoid a similar scenario in the future, the company should have a clear guideline that should be employed in a situation where an individual is to be promoted. Scorecards have been used to evaluate how various individuals are performing and therefore, ensure that they are in a more informed position in cases where they are denied a promotion. Employee evaluation should also be done or frequent basis to ensure that there are updated performance scores that can be used in cases where a promotion is to be given.
In conclusion, cases of discrimination are common in various workplaces but using the proposed strategies they can be avoided and ensure all the employees are contented.
Dipboye, R. L. & Collela, A. (2005). The Dilemmas of Workplace Discrimination. In R. Dipboye & A. Collela (eds). The Psychological and Organizational Bases of Discrimination at Work. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 425-426.
Player, M. (2001). Federal Law of Employment Discrimination in a Nutshell, 7th Ed. MN: West Academic Publishing.
Raymond, F. G. (2002). Women and Workplace Discrimination: Overcoming Barriers to Gender Equality. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Rhode, D. L. (2009). Justice and Gender: Sex Discrimination and the Law. New York: Harvard University Press.