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Understanding the factors that influence a company can be difficult. The degree to which the market climate can be managed varies. A company will change how external and internal influences influence it. However, though it is difficult to force the economy to expand, the company should learn how to streamline all operations so that the enterprise can begin to function more effectively. There are several variables in the world that influence the firm's success; these variables include fiscal, business, social, and legal influences. All institutions are must also fulfill some legal requirements such a having an operation permit for them to be allowed to operate in any environment. So that the business satisfies all the legal obligation, it is prudent that people with thorough legal background are involved so as to minimize the legal liability. So many companies have incurred stiff penalties in the past because of illegal business practices of failure to fulfill some legal requirements. Illegal business practices drive the institution into unnecessary lawsuits that are costly regarding fines and even might lead to the closure of the business. Legislations are simply meant to protect the society and consumers from business practices that are unethical. All nations all over the worlds have different legal requirements that business especially multinational ones must follow to the later.
The 21 century is encompassed by global business environment and firms of different size face different ethical issues. This implies that institutions have the duty of developing codes of ethics and conduct that all members within an institution must adhere to and put into practice. The fundamental ethical issues entail various concepts such trust and integrity. But more complicated issues include governance, compliance, decision making and accommodating diversity. All businesses are required to comply with the state safety laws, federal and environmental laws and all the civil rights and the fiscal and monetary reporting standards. This paper will, therefore, assess a business situation that is entrenched in ethical and legal requirement. The paper will particular elaborate on the various levels of discrimination at the workplace and give a recommendation on how this situation can successful be handled. The paper will also discuss the ethical and legal issues that surround discrimination.
A Description of the Business Situation
Discrimination is a common phenomenon and existed at the workplace for many decades. Discrimination tends to take various forms. Even though many forms of discrimination can be overt such as denial of advancement to the emerging opportunities or racial slurs, it can be concealed or even subtle. Discrimination in the society occurs when members of a class that is protected (minorities or women for instance) is treated differently that the peers. All members of the community have the utmost need of being dealt with in a manner that is equal despite the social and cultural opportunities that exist (Van der Werff, 1995). In the various situation, all forms of discrimination tend to go against the desires of individuals and can result can result in human dissatisfaction by enhancing the level of frustrations, therefore, interfering with performance (McClain, 1994). Discrimination arises from the societal establishments such as social status, sex, religion, age, and race besides other institutions. Any form of discrimination that existents in the society can be manifested in a couple of ways that includes giving the members of a certain social establishment favors in when receiving certain services or when seeking employment. When it comes to remuneration, it is also common to find discrimination manifesting itself. Because of discrimination, members of the society who hold the same educational qualifications and have the same work experience earn different salaries in the same company. Forms of discrimination have also been witnessed when certain employees when members of the social group are preferred when it comes to promotion when compared to other members. All employees at the workplace must be promoted by qualification is this practice must end. In all institutions, the management is usually the central location where business decisions are made (O'Connor, 2006). All the management team plays a pivotal role in leading the organization, despite this role some of them are usually left out when it comes to making important decisions that affect the company a fact that creates frustrations. Discrimination tends to produce massive effects in economic, political, social, and psychological domains. Whether it is intended or not, consequences are quite disastrous because they lead to economic inequality, political disempowerment and creates a sense of alienation from other members of the society (European Conference on Preventing Racism at the Workplace, 1996).
Discrimination has been highlighted by various agencies in different forms. For instance, according to the state laws, discrimination can manifest itself in the workplace in various forms that range from job advertisement all the way to employee contract termination. When it comes to advertisement, discrimination occurs when job ads are structured in a certain manner so as to attract members of a given social class; this implies that certain members of the society cannot access the same opportunity. Such a situation can be corrected when the job advertisements are structured in an open manner that allows all members of the community to apply and even award them equal chances of acquiring the job. When forms of discrimination present themselves during job advertisement it means the same behavior will replicate itself during employment since members or an individual race, religion or social class will be favored when compared to other members of the society. These forms of discrimination in many cases are not in the best interest of the shareholders. All firms must, therefore, formulate their terms and conditions so that they can reflect the needs of the overall society. Other federal regulations also define other forms of discrimination that occurs during training. According to these regulations equality, must exists during job training, because any form of discrimination in this sector will mean that the long-term institutional performance will be compromised regarding performance.
Discrimination is not a new phenomenon in the 21st century; this vise has existed in the society since time immemorial. Despite the fact that cases of discriminations have significantly declined in this century some people still find it hard to stop the behavior. During World War II some cases of discrimination were rampant in America. The United States military, for instance, was heavily segregated. The marines and the air force, for example, the military did not have any member of the black race enlisted in their ranks. The army only has five members of the black race. Forms of discrimination also presented themselves when receiving honors members of the black race were not allowed to receive Medal of Honor during the wars, and in many cases, many of their tasks were predetermined which included participation in the noncombat activities. These forms of discrimination took fifty years until when the presidential order reviewed some of the rules and started awarding medals to the black soldier for their service during the war. President Truman executive orders marked the end of discrimination in the United States Army, and that was the end of racial inequality and segregation in the military.
In other areas of the economy, different forms of discrimination were also witnessed. Members of the black race were discriminated in different ways for instance during promotions or remunerations. Members of the white race were considered to be more superior. Hence they were paid higher wages when compared to members of other races; this move caused a lot of frustrations and dissatisfaction. Many African Americans participated in demonstrations across the country to try and end all forms of discrimination.
Ethical Concerns Rising From the Discrimination
In many cases, it is never ethical to discriminate anyone. In the United States, any form of discrimination based on cultural orientation, racial and ethnicity is strictly forbidden under the state laws and federal laws in all sectors. Ethical discrimination has the tendency of reducing productivity and breeding ill feelings at the workplace. So as to eliminate all forms of discrimination, all business parties must put in place that aims at reducing ethical discrimination in the employment sector. According to ethics, it is important that all people are treated with respect and dignity (Yamamoto, 1999). By eliminating discrimination at the workplace a virtue of human dignity is promoted, this means that instances of frustrations will be eliminated. Discrimination has an adverse impact on the workplace this I because members of a certain group sidelined, this implies that they come up with opposing activities that go against the organizational value; this has a tendency of creating more conflicts that go against the desired ethical practices. Discrimination can ultimately interfere with the organizational unity in a firm. Thus they should be eliminated. Discrimination tends to interferes with the relationship among employees and shareholders and therefore threatens the going concern principle. It is clear that employee will produce the maximum output and produce the best results in an environment that that is free from discrimination because they tend to be more motivated. In many cases, discrimination tends to create an atmosphere of the poor performance. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the United States is responsible for overseeing the enforcement of rules and regulation that advocate that all employees have to have equal rights.
Ethical Theories (Theory of Utilitarianism)
Some theories have explained the impact of discrimination at the workplace. The theory of utilitarianism places a locus on the wrong and right exclusively on consequences of choosing one policy over the other policy. This approach places the central, fundamental role of pleasure and pain in the life of the human. Secondly, it disapproves and approves the action by amount of pleasure and pain brought about. Third, it equates evil and pleasures with pain, and finally, it asserts that both pain and pleasure are capable of being quantified. When measuring the pain and pleasure various factors such as certainty, duration, and intensity of the pain are considered. According to the utilitarian theory, any strategy that is adopted by any organization must be in line with the ethical requirements. The strategy adopted should also enable the institution to improve its performance. The theory also is capable of predicting the final output in any course of action that is approved by an agency (Second Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, 1991). Before formulating any action then it is important the organization must be able to predict the outcome. Apart from considering ethical requirements, the course of action that is adopted must promote the organizational goals and interests. This theory supports that fact that discrimination tends to derail corporate performance leading to an overall poor performance. Utilitarianism theory can be split into two sections, the rule utilitarianism, and utilitarianism theory (Clarke, 1995). According to the Act Utilitarianism theory, an individual’s actions are considered to be morally right if it produces as much happiness more than any other act that a person could perform then. On the other hand, the rule utilitarianism makes attempts to benefit many the majority within the organization by undertaking a course of actions that are considered as just. This has to be based on the basic values that are cherished in these firms. From the above theories, discrimination is unethical behavior that only benefits few people; this implies that it must be disregarded if the company efficiency is to be maintained.
Areas of Law That That Address Discrimination
Civil Rights Act 1964
It is contrary to the laws to discriminate any individual by sexual orientation, sex, religion, race, disability, being pregnant, being married, becoming transsexual and age. Various legislations have already been enacted to try and curb instances of discrimination that exist in the workplace. The Civil right act that was passed in acted in 1964 bars the discrimination of all workers based on religion, national origin, color, race, and sex; this federal law Act applies to that employer who has over fifteen employees and above including local governments, state and federal. This act also applies to public and private college, labor organizations, and employment agencies. Despite the fact that this law was passed decades ago race and gender continue to take center stage in the workplace.
Equal Pay Act enact in 1963
Secondly, there is the equal employee Act; this act was adopted to end the forms of wage discrimination that is based on sex. When passing this law in 1963, the Congress stated that wage discrimination based on sex constitutes an unfair competition methods, burdens the flow of goods in commerce, ends up causing disputes related to labor thereby obstructing, affecting and burdening commerce, it prevents the maximum utilization of existing resources and lastly it depresses living standards and wage for employees necessary for efficiency and quality. This Act highlight that women and men be given the same pay as long as they are working in the same establishment. The nature of tasks performed need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal (Kulkarni, 2006). The equal employee act stipulates that an employer may not pay unequal remuneration to women and men who require substantially equal efforts, skill and tasks that are handled under the equal conditions in the same institution. This act stipulates that the pay differential is permitted based on quality, quantity, merit, and seniority or a factor other than gender. When an institution is correcting the payment deferential no person’s wages should be reduced, but instead, those who earn the salaries of those who earn less can be increased.
Age Discrimination Employment Act (1975)
This act prohibits the workplace discrimination based on age in activities and programs. The age discrimination law applies to all ages and permits the use of particular age distinction. This Act protects individual employees and applicants who are aged 40 years and above from all forms of discrimination the by discharge, promotion, hiring or privileges, conditions or terms of employment. This act aimed at inclusion of individual with different age brackets to the organization without discriminating them regarding age limits (Kulkarni, 2006).
Each agency must put in place measures that enhance equality at the workplace. Failure to adhere to the above policies place a company in a compromised situation since it is prone to lawsuits that are in many cases costly. In the quest to eliminate the cases of discrimination various operation domains advocate for an equal involvement all parties in all matters that present themselves without prevailing differences. The national government has put in place laws that give encourage the adoption of a democratic workplace where workers can participate in various arising issues. Having a democratic space at the workplace encourage participation which means that undesirable behavior can be eliminated with much ease. Active participation in matters affecting the organization significantly boosts morale and motivation to participate in any course of action. All institutions must uphold human dignity since employees represent the greatest asset and the way they treated can determine the long-term success of the firm.
Putting in mind the impacts of violating discriminations acts at the workplace employers must put in place measures to ensure that the workplace is free from any form of discrimination. So as to handle various forms of workplace discrimination, then firms must be familiar with all the laws pertaining antidiscrimination. Employers can familiarize themselves with these statutes by regularly attending seminars that discuss discrimination. Secondly, all institution must develop comprehensive antidiscrimination policies that all employees must be conversant with. Having a clear policy will enable an employer to inform the employee about the type of behavior that won’t be tolerated. The antidiscrimination policies have to be concise and clear so be understood by all the employers. The policy should be written in a language that the employee understands and must have a clear definition of harassment and discrimination including practical examples where it is possible (Phillips, 1993). Thirdly, employers can come up with mandatory training on the antidiscrimination act. The training should remind employees the importance of adhering to the antidiscrimination laws. In general, any form of training that is initiated has to emphasize on the employer's goal of eliminating harassment and discrimination and also reinforce employee’s values mutual respect and professionalism. Lastly, all firms must always be prepared to investigate complaints of harassment and discrimination conclusively. The investment procedures must be known so that all complain that emerge are handled as quickly as possible.
When formulating all business decisions employers must carefully scrutinize them to understand whether they have an impact on the protected class of employee, this can be done by running validation tests, statistical tests and if the anticipated policies affect the protected class, the employer must come up neutral alternatives that will ensure there if fairness. Employers have to make sure that the complaining employees are not retaliated against under any circumstance. When the investigation has already been done all participants must be informed, and an appropriate disciplinary action is taken when employees are found guilty ("Drive to stop discrimination,” 2001).
From the above analysis, it remains clear that discrimination can have a distracting impact on an organization whichever the size. From that fact, institutions must come up with quick remedies to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination goes against the important values of the modern society, and in fact, it goes to the extent of threatening democracy. Instances of discrimination not only create a menace in at the workplace but also to the people who are subjected to that adversative treatment by being denied some of the rights that other people enjoy. Discrimination is entirely wrong because it is a selfish behavior. No matter how this vise can be justified, it remains to be wrong. Instances of discrimination continue to be witnessed in many parts of the world today for several reasons. As the society, the best way to tackle this problem from spreading is simply to raise kids by teaching them never to discriminate against others. To sum up, the current laws have proved successful in curbing this vise, the government programs to educate people on different forms of discrimination and how they how they can live in harmony by respecting others.
Drive to stop discrimination. (2002). Standards of Nursing, 15(27), 9-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.7748/ns.15.27.9.s25
Clarke, L. (1995). Discrimination. London: Institute of Personnel and Development.
European Conference on Preventing Racism at the Workplace. (1996). Dublin, Ireland.
Kulkarni, A. (2006). Unsupervised context discrimination and automatic cluster stopping.
O'Connor, M. (2006). Equal rights. North Mankato, Minn.: Sea to Sea Publications.
Phillips, A. (1993). Discrimination. New York: New Discovery Books.
Second Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. (1991). New York.
McClain, C. (1994). In search of equality. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Van der Werff, M. (1995). Racial discrimination. Cambridge: Independence Educational.
Yamamoto, E. (1999). Interracial justice. New York: New York University Press.
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