In an ideal world, people would be equal in rights, opportunities, and responsibilities, despite their race or gender. In the world we live in, however, we constantly face all kinds of neglect based on different attributes. All over the world, certain people treat others with prejudice because of particular features they possess. Unfortunately, this happens even in places which, by definition, should be free of all personal prejudices—specifically, in offices and other business surroundings. This phenomenon is called workplace discrimination; not every unfair behavior at work, however, can be assessed as discrimination.
What exactly is workplace discrimination? It can be defined as a less favorable treatment towards an individual or a group of individuals at work, usually based on their nationality, skin color, sex, marital status, age, trade union activity, or other defining attributes (Australian Human Rights Commission). It can appear as a denial of certain rights, negligent treatment, intentional underestimating of a worker’s personality or work results and achievements, and so on. A person can be discriminated by their employers, or by their coworkers as well. Discrimination can result into severe psychological consequences for the victim, such as emotional stress and anxiety. Discrimination often causes an employee to leave the workplace, resign from a position, or in severe cases, to commit suicide, or act violently against the discriminators.
Workplace discrimination can take more open and threatening forms, which are known as workplace harassment. It occurs when an employee is made to feel intimidated, insulted, or humiliated, based on such features as race, ethnic origin, gender, physical or mental disability, or on any other characteristic specified under legislation (AHRC). The two most radical forms of workplace harassment are the application of physical violence or sexual harassment—women are especially exposed to this kind of discrimination. Workplace violence can take several forms: the direct exercise of physical force against a worker which causes or could cause injuries to the worker; an attempt to exercise physical force; or a statement or behavior which a worker can reasonably interpret as a threat to exercise physical force (Ontario Ministry of Labor). Sexual harassment can take the form of obscene jokes and allusions; intrusive body contact; inappropriate gestures, or even direct actions aimed at sexual contact.
There are several ways to deal with workplace discrimination; such measures can be held both on the individual and on the collective level. Individuals who have experienced discrimination or harassment at work are recommended to stand firm under verbal attacks, remain confident about their own abilities and judgments, and try not to stay alone with the abusive person (UnionSafe). At the same time, collective measures can be taken as well. They usually include calling for a meeting in a quiet, confidential place in order to admit and discuss the problem; complaining to competent authorities; developing respective policies together with sanctions applied in case there is an infringement enacted by workers.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and not all people can enjoy equal opportunities and rights. This refers not only to our personal lives, but to our working environment as well; employees can be discriminated and abused because of certain features they possess, such as the color of skin, their ethnicity or gender, age, marital status, disabilities, and so on. To eliminate workplace discrimination, both individual and collective preventive measures should be made.
“What is Workplace Discrimination and Harassment?” Australian Human Rights Commission. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 July 2013. <http://www.humanrights.gov.au/what-workplace-discrimination-and-harassment>.
“Preventing Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment.” Ontario Ministry of Labor. N.p., July 2011. Web. 05 July 2013. <http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/pubs/fs_workplaceviolence.php>.
“Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace.” UnionSafe. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 July 2013. <http://unionsafe.labor.net.au/hazards/10717236108849.html>.
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Writing a Definition Essay
Many companies today are dedicated towards creating an environment that is conducive to its employees to work in. this is in their struggle to make sure that they maximize resources and that the company heads towards its set goals. Such an environment can only be achieved by get rid of all forms of violence in the work place. This is because such vices only eat in to a lot of the employee’s time and create bad relationships among employees which in return reduce production. To have a good group of employees working together as a team may be difficult to realize. Still is one major thing that an employer should adequately invest in as it is directly proportional to the kind of results that your company will get.
Forms of Workplace Violence
Many people believe that work place violence is only associated to incidents that occur on site of the business premises. It is good to note that any ugly incident that involves your employees is a form of work place violence regardless of where it happens. Workplace Violence is also not limited to physical violence or assault. There are other forms that are worse than the physical assault and have even a greater negative impact to a company’s output. The most common form is the use of written or verbal threats so as to annoy or inflict fear or harm to ones feelings. Verbal abuse is also very common in the work place and in most of the times it goes unnoticed yet some people remain hurt but may be afraid to speak. Another form is behaviors that are threatening like hallowing objects and destruction of property. Behaviors that intimidate, annoy, humiliate, embarrass and demean others are also not welcome at the work place. Last form is the one that is common to all and it the physical attacks that include pushing, kicking and hitting. All these forms no matter how inoffensive they look should be avoided at the work place.
Prevention of Workplace Violence
The employer should be very strict to individuals that getting implicated in work place violence. However punishment may never work always as you are not sure of getting at the bottom of these cases, it is thus good to prevent them by trying to create good working environments. This can be done by having bonding sessions that will allow employees to know each other well and enhance team work among them. This will also boost your company performance. The hiring process should also be thorough and you should wary of candidates that exhibit traits of violence.