Discrimination Within the Navy

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Discrimination Within the Navy
Jessica Reo
Excelsior College

Author Note:
This paper was prepared for Business 323, Business Ethics for Professor Andrea Lucas. Discrimination Within the Navy
Thesis
Maintaining a positive, ethical behavior is something that is difficult no matter someone’s profession. If desired, the Navy is a career choice that faces many ethical dilemmas. One current ethical issue that exists within the Navy is discrimination. Issue

Within the Navy, being ethical is a huge part of your job. Because of its importance and severity, many billets, or job positions, have been created within the Navy to address and deal with the current ethical issues. As stated by the Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, “It is essential that all Department of the Navy personnel adhere to the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct. The American people put their trust in us and none of us can betray that trust.” (Winter) Discrimination is one of the ethical dilemmas that plague the Navy. As defined by Trevino and Nelson, “Discrimination occurs whenever something other than qualifications affects how an employee is treated.” (Trevino & Nelson, 2011, p. 116) Discrimination comes in multiple categories. In the United States, age, disability, gender, natural origin, religion, and race are forms that are prohibited by federal law. (Trevino & Nelson, 2011, p. 115) Diversity is a key factor during your career in the Navy. The age difference amongst Sailors is drastic, and at any time someone who is 45 years old may be taking orders from someone who is 25 years old. This causes a potential resentment from sailors because in the Navy, age means nothing. Authority and leadership is granted dependent upon one’s rank, or pay grade. The oldest age to join the Navy is 39. This poses a high likelihood of working under someone who is younger. Being able to follow and give orders to and from everyone is an essential quality that is required to be a Sailor. When thinking of employing people with disabilities, the Navy is not an employer that comes to mind. There are many people in the Navy that are disabled. Dyslexia, depression, sickle-cell anemia, and ADD, amongst others, are all disabilities that are considered admissible for entry into the Navy. Because the Navy is so diverse, being able to accept, work with, and get past one’s disability is imperative. A large portion of the Navy has to travel, or deploy, from the United States and venture into other countries. The chance of interacting with a person who has a disability is vast. Figure 1

Gender discrimination is one that is not too common in the Navy. The Navy became co-ed in March of 1917 when Loretta Walsh enlisted as a Yeoman. (CAPT (Ret.) Wilson, 1996) Since then, women have been allowed to hold almost every rate and rank. Figure 2 shows the percentage of men vs. women in the Navy in FY 2004. (Dr. Maxfield, 2004) Women are held to the same standard as men and are expected to be able to perform their duties as well as the men. Even though discriminating sailors because of their gender is a shrinking problem, I feel it will become a thing of the past in the next ten years. During my short time in the Navy, I have come across many sailors, usually ones that are caught in the older Navy traditions, which are partial to working with women. I have also found that depending on how and where someone was raised; there are still some that demonstrate chivalry. When the people who currently hold leadership positions throughout the Navy are cycled out, I believe discriminating someone because of their gender will also cycle through. Natural origin diversity is something that has been rapidly growing and is represented throughout the year, and highlighted each October during National Diversity Awareness Month. Within the Navy, each command has a Diversity Committee that contains men, women and Sailors from every race, background, and...
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