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Racial Discrimination In The Workplace Essay

1405 words - 6 pages

It is always interesting when people do not know what my race is. Usually people use conversation and indirect questions to get clues. For instance, they might ask where I was raised in order to get a clue if I was from a particular county or region, or perhaps to catch an accent. Other times they may make a certain comment to hoe I react. Quite often people will just plain ask me "what are you?" It is an interesting question. I could answer this a number of different ways. I could say I am a man, a father, a husband, an American, a paralegal, a jerk, a student or any number of replies that do not give the answer they are looking for. The "what" in their question is invariably referring to my ethnic background. The reason they are asking is that people have preconceived notions of different ethnic groups and if they cannot place you in a specific group, they cannot get a feel of who you are. I know my employers have judged me the same way others do, and it has affected my employment status, both directly and indirectly. These preconceived notions are the basis for many racial issues and to think that these notions become insignificant in the workplace would be foolish. Racial discrimination in the workplace exists. The challenge is proving it exists and making a change.Federal law makes in unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire, to discharge an individual or to discriminate in any way with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment based on race (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, p.179, 2001). Additionally, statute 42 U.S.C. 2000-2(a) declares an employer may not limit, segregate or classify employees or applicants in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment or employment opportunity or otherwise affect his status as an employee, because of an employees race or color (Bennett-Alexander and Hartman, p.179, 2001). So why is there still racial discrimination in the workplace? Quite simply, employers either do not follow, do not understand or some combination of the two, the anti discriminatory laws, specifically Title VII and the previously stated statute. Some employers discriminate knowingly while others unconsciously make it harder for groups of certain ethnic background to get promoted or hired. The statistics proving minorities, or people of color, have historically have a low glass ceiling resulting in lower pay and less promotability in the workplace. Who exactly are these people of color that are often the target of racial discrimination in the workplace? The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has designated five racial categories:- White- Black or African-American- Hispanic- Asian or Pacific Islander- American Indian or Alaska Native (www.EEOC.com)As one can clearly see, the categories are connected to ones race or national origin, not necessarily ones "color." Charges based on color may usually occur when there is a mix of races or national origin and...

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