Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Leaches in the Workplace: Discrimination

Discrimination within a workforce, sucks the lifeblood out of the organization


Discrimination: the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people

Leaches: bloodsucking parasites

Dan was excited about his new job. However, that excitement quickly dissipated as he experienced some situations that made him feel like he was being treated differently. It was not only how some people talked to him, but also how they looked at him, gave extra space while walking around him, and at times, made an effort to avoid him all together. Dan decided to put all of this aside and earn his way through the company using his talents, experience, and amazing work ethic. His quality of work was at a high level, but the strange treatment remained the same. No matter what he did, Dan felt that his hard work and determination would never pay-off. Less than a year after starting this new job with excitement and enthusiasm, Dan resigned. The company has now lost a valuable and contributing member of its organization. A little more information about Dan; he is a war veteran of African descent who had lost his arm fighting in Iraq.

Discrimination comes in many forms including, age, disability, gender, race, national origin, religious, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and weight. When discrimination is part of a workforce, it sucks the lifeblood out of that organization and all of the people who are a part of it. Productivity is less, morale is lower, and there is an increase in turnover. On many occasions, companies loose valuable members of their workforce who have greatly contributed to its success. Discrimination is a behavior that has a negative effect on everyone involved.

Here are some signs that discrimination may be a part of your workplace:

Odd hiring practices – Failing to hire or refusing to hire a potential employee based on one of the discrimination classifications. Typically, an organization is not even aware that this is happening, because the recruiters have complete control over the initial screening process.

Missed promotions – Promotions are wonderful opportunities for employees to move their careers ahead, but sometimes the most qualified employee is not the one who receives the promotion. When a company promotes an employees, there should be extensive documentation that justifies that promotion. Employees know who the most qualified person is for a promotion, and when that person gets looked over, everybody takes notice and remembers.

Unequal pay – All employees should be paid based on the value that individual brings to the organization in a particular position. Paying people differently for doing the same job is a slippery slope. If employees have similar experience, education, and skills and they are doing a similar job, then their pay should reflect that.

Unequal discipline – It is vital for an organization to have documented discipline procedures and to follow those procedures. Disciplining employees differently could be a demonstration of favoritism or discrimination.


In order to help avoid these unfair practices, organizations need to teach employees what their expectations are in the area of discrimination. They need to be clear, blunt, and they need to teach by example by quickly handling any discrimination practices or situations that may arise. Leading by example begins with management. Companies must demonstrate the type of behavior they expect from their employees. Discrimination will suck the lifeblood out of any organization. Eliminating discrimination will help your employees be more productive, increase morale, and reduce turnover. Discrimination has no place within the workforce of an organization.
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