Have you ever been treated or looked at differently because of your race, gender, religion, social rank or any other attribute? If you did, then you must have experienced one type of discrimination. So, what do we mean by discrimination? In general, discrimination is the judgment of qualities and recognition of the differences between things, and it comes in different forms and frames. At” workplace discrimination occurs when an employee suffers from unfavorable or unfair treatment due to their race, religion, national origin, disabled or veteran status, or other legally protected characteristics. Employees who have suffered reprisals for opposing workplace discrimination or for reporting violations to the authorities are also considered to be discriminated against”(Allbusiness, 2010:1). Many countries, in particular the modern and developed ones, issued decrees and laws that prohibits discrimination in work-related areas, such as recruiting, hiring, job evaluations, promotion policies, training, compensation and disciplinary action
Direct vs. Indirect
Workplace discrimination can be characterized as direct or Indirect. Direct discrimination involves treating someone less favorably because of their possession of an attribute (e.g., gender, age, race, beliefs, socio-economical status, national origin, disability, etc…), compared with someone without that attribute in the same circumstances. An example of direct discrimination would be not offering a job to a woman because she is likely to take maternity leave whereas a man is not. Indirect discrimination involves setting a condition or requirement which a smaller proportion of those with the attribute are able to comply with, without reasonable justification.
Types of workplace Discrimination
As mentioned earlier, workplace discrimination happens when some employee suffers unjust treatment, perception of or even interaction with, due to the fact of a physical attribute of the offended prejudiced by the discriminator. Among various types of discrimination, researchers and specialists identified five main discriminated attributes at workplace: Race, Gender, Age, beliefs, and disability. “While discrimination occurs in a variety of workplace environments, certain organizations may be structured in ways that increase the likelihood of biased treatment and subordination of employees occupying lower social status positions”( Wizdom Powell Hammond et al, 2010)
Racial discrimination differentiates between individuals on the basis of real and perceived racial differences, and has been official government policy in several countries, such as South Africa in the apartheid era, and the USA. For example, a black employee may suffer illegal discrimination, if working in a white dominant environment, just because of his racial attributes, like color, structure and others that don’t fit the majority. Many researchers found out that racial discrimination is by far the most obvious type of discrimination and contributes to a major stake of discrimination cases and lawsuits. Another obvious example is of Arab immigrants in western countries, who suffered increasing discrimination after 9/11 due to the fact that terrorists behind 9/11 were Arabs.
Nowadays, countries with growing economies attract various ethnic groups to come and work together. This results in more discrimination issues floating on the surfaces with no governing law framing this type of malice. For example, in Gulf countries like UAE, Saudi and others race discrimination is tolerated with absence of rules and acts prohibiting such behaviors and polices within organizations. "There is a lot of discrimination according to race in the labour market, which affects the contribution of those who suffer from it. They feel dissatisfied and this reflects in their work and affects the lives of sometimes large families in the UAE and abroad." (Charles Stratford,2009)