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Discrimination in the Business

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Abstract
The purpose of this writing is to discuss why prejudice and discrimination are unethical behaviors. Ways to decrease prejudice and discrimination in the business sector will also be discussed.

Prejudice and discrimination behaviors are considered unethical. Prejudice is a negative stereotype about an individual or group based on their cultural, ethnic, or religious background. Discrimination is the denial or acceptance of a person based on their sex, age, religion, and even physical abilities. Both behaviors are often intertwined in one another. A prejudice act is often discriminatory and vice versa. At times these behaviors are deemed acceptable, but they usually violate ethics codes that have been established in business. If acceptable at times, the questions to be answered are why these behaviors are unethical in the business realm and what can be done to decrease these behaviors? The behaviors are unethical because they are usually intended to harm the individual or group of people. There is a desire to separate from people that are different. This is unethical as it shows a lack of morals and values for those that are different. Ethics represent values that a particular group has. If the group is unable to respect others, it is impossible for them to expect others to respect them. There are a couple of ethics principles that can be used to explain why prejudice and discrimination are unethical. These are the Utilitarian and Justice principles. The Utilitarian principle is that individuals choose the solution that will provide the greatest value, usefulness or happiness. This choice is made while considering others. (Utilitarianism) The Justice principle states that theories should result in actions that are fair to all involved. (Rainbow, C., 2002) Prejudice and discriminatory behavior are direct opposites of these ethics principles. They do not consider others or result in a fair resolution. Prejudice and discriminatory behaviors are often the result of selfish individuals or groups that are making choices for their own benefit. One example of prejudice and discriminatory practices in the business realm is the hiring of men versus women. The first thing that comes to mind is difference in pay between men and women. But the unethical practices often go even further. In some cases women have been overlooked to men because of the responsibilities that are usually associated with being a mother. Maternity leave and/or paid emergency and sick time that mothers use to care for their children are expenses to the company. There are occasions in which men take paternal maternity leave and time to care for their children, but the leave is not as lengthy, thereby not costing the company as much. It is unethical to deny a qualified candidate that is a woman employment for the simple benefit of possibly not having to pay for extended leave. Yes, the company should make decisions that put them in the best financial position, but it should not be on the grounds of rejecting qualified candidates. This type of discrimination goes even further. It includes, not excepting contracts from minorities, not hiring individuals that are a certain age, and if they are hired, they are placed in position not based on their skills, but based on assumed abilities due to preconceived prejudice.
All of which are unethical. The next step is to determine ways to decrease prejudice and discrimination in the business sector. As an employee, one can act to try to decrease the problem. But the unethical behavior will be decreased at a more noticeable rate if upper management makes changes and encourages others to do the same. Some of the things that can be done are keeping personal beliefs to one’s self, responding quickly to any accusations or thing that are noticed, and treating all employees as equals. (Dealing) Establishing an office policy will aid in the above mentioned solutions. (Dealing) The policy should provide detailed instructions on how to handle situations and the consequences for any wrong doings. Consequences can include warnings, counseling, and even termination. In addition to a policy it is imperative that each member of management and the general staff attend workshops that explain unethical behavior. Overall there is not a cohesive way to end prejudice and discriminatory behavior. But with severe efforts incidents can be decreased. It will take the efforts of each individual to make a personal pledge to refrain from such behavior.

References

Dealing with Discrimination in the Workplace. (n.d.) Retrieved October 19, 2010 from http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/laws-government-regulations-employment/11554- 1.html
Rainbow, C., (2002) Descriptions of Ethical Theories and Principles. Retrieved October 19, 2010 from http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/kabernd/Indep/carainbow/Theories.htm
Utilitarianism. Retrieved October 19, 2010 from
http://www.utilitarianism.com/utilitarianism.html

References: Dealing with Discrimination in the Workplace. (n.d.) Retrieved October 19, 2010 from http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/laws-government-regulations-employment/11554- 1.html Rainbow, C., (2002) Descriptions of Ethical Theories and Principles. Retrieved October 19, 2010 from http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/kabernd/Indep/carainbow/Theories.htm Utilitarianism. Retrieved October 19, 2010 from http://www.utilitarianism.com/utilitarianism.html

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