Racial Segregation in Places of Work in the United States
Racial segregation is one of the social issues the contemporary society is grappling to address. Ideally, this form of segregation entails treating people discriminately based on their race. The problem has been one of the issues of great concern in the United States workplaces, especially at the backdrop globalization that has seen interaction of people from different backgrounds. Indeed, the problem is still rampant in the United States, despite the common assertions that the nation is a post-racial society. This paper discusses racial segregation at places of work as an issue that should be addressed to change the world.The Evidence of Racial Segregation in the United StatesLiterature on the social segregation in the United States is documented and presents the problem to be rampant. For instance, large racial wage gaps between the minority and majority persists despite the common claims that the racial segregation issues have been addressed. Indeed, according to Acas, the majority of people in the United States believe that the country has not achieved racial balance. It is estimated that about six in every ten Americans have experienced racial segregation at work at one moment of their lives. Besides, as Pew Research Center reports, in 2015, blacks earned 25 percent less the earnings of white employees in hourly earnings over the same jobs (Pew Research Center 1). It has also been noted that the Asian men lag behind their white counterparts in median hourly earnings for the same jobs. Acas indicates that white male workers account for the largest workforce — about 33 percent in 2015 (Acas 6). Meanwhile, the average hourly earnings for Hispanic and black men were 14 dollars and 15 dollars, respectively, which compares poorly with white men`s 21 dollars per hour. In the same vein, the hourly earnings for the Hispanic and black women (12 and 13 dollars) is less than of the earnings of white women and Asians (17 and 18 dollars).It is worth noting that the issue of racial segregation is historical. For example, in 1980, a white female employee earned 60 cents for every dollar earned by a male white employee. In 2015, a white female employee earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by a male employee (Pew Research Center 1). Additionally, there has been no significant change in the earnings of both black (73 percent of a white male hourly income) and Hispanic (69 percent of a white male employee`s hourly income) male employees since 1980 to 2015. The opinions of blacks and other minority races regarding how they are treated at workplaces points to rooted racial segregation. About 64 percent of blacks feel that people from their race are treated unfairly compared to whites in places of work. Moreover, many employees from the minority communities feel that companies had been unfair during processes of hiring, promotion, and pay due to their ethnicity. Well over 40 percent of blacks feel that their racial disposition has made it harder for them to secure stable employment. Indeed, a significant number of white employees (31 percent) admit that race has played a significant role in their success in life (Pew Research Center 1).Forms of Racial Discrimination at the Place of WorkVarious forms of racial segregation have been evidenced in the United States workplaces. The common types include direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimization. Direct Discrimination involves treating certain individuals less favorably because of their race, or their association with other persons of a particular race and persons of a perceived race. The direct forms of segregation involve dismissing, refusing to employ, withholding training, or promotion, offering poorer conditions, terms, and contractual benefits because of their race. In many circumstances, it is inherently difficult to detect and justify these forms of discrimination, but occupational requirements have been set out in the constitution and industrial laws to help minimize any forms of direct discrimination (Jost 36 Acas 20). This form of discrimination is hard to address because various specifications and terms such as `practice,` criterion,` and `provision` that are applied by employer are not defined in law (Squires 78).In contrast, many forms of indirect discrimination involve legitimating discrimination against certain individuals based on their race, although the pretexts are always unwarranted. For example, setting out an application only requiring people from Europe to apply places the white immigrants in the advantageous position over other immigrants, which can be taken as racial segregation. However, the development of objective procedures, rules, requirements, and policies by employers, applying it to contractual benefits, selection criteria and redundancy scoring matrix, among other employment practices, can be helpful in reducing various forms of indirect discrimination (Seabrook and Wyatt-Nichol 26).Harassment is an unwanted conduct that involves violation someone`s dignity or creating a hostile, intimidating, humiliating, offensive or degrading surrounding around them. It is associated with both physical and verbal acts such as bullying, issuing threats, nicknaming, vilification, gossiping and insulting. Acas discusses that sexual forms of harassment, which is particularly common at workplaces, can have adverse effects on the dignity, morale, and overall productivity of an employee (Acas 8). On the other hand, victimization involves treating an employee less favorably compared to others for (1) making or admitting a discrimination allegation (2) supporting a discrimination complaint (3) seconding or giving relevant evidence regarding any complaint about possible discrimination acts committed (4) acting in any manner that violates the law of equality. Seabrook & Wyatt-Nichol discuss that treatment of employees less favorably compared to their colleagues can also be referred to as a violation of law (Jost 29).Key Areas of Employment in which Racial Segregation is CommonThe majority of circumstances or instances of racial discrimination happen through harassment and bullying. Additionally, there are many processes or areas at places of work that are characterized by acts of racial discrimination. Some of these processes are recruitment, promotion opportunities, application of terms and conditions and pay, training opportunities, and work dismissal (Acas 15). Racial discrimination on terms and conditions and pay entails the application of terms, conditions, and contractual benefits that are exclusive or disadvantageous to particular employees because of their race, perceptions concerning their race, or association with people of a particular race. For instance, during the implementation of staff discount policies, parental leave, death in service allowances and benefits, and compassionate leaves may be awarded employees discriminately. The segregation in the recruitment of employees is common in advertising job vacancies, invitation of applications and hiring. Racial discrimination can be evidenced during the recruitment process when adverts are for specific races, nationalities or regions, rather than focusing on the information and the skills that are required (Zenou and Boccard 72).During work promotions, employees are also discriminated because of their race or associating with people of a certain race. Some of the practices that are discriminatory during the exercise of promotion in firms include (1) sharing job advertisements with persons of a particular race only,(2) refusing to promote employees having or possessing necessary skills and information because of the belief that they might not be fit for the position because they come from a particular race, (3) denying an employee promotion because of their previous complaint about discrimination practices in a company, and application of unwritten rules that specify candidates from particular races should be positioned above a certain rank or level (Jost 15).Training opportunities for some employees might be withheld because of their perceived race, race as well as the association with persons of a particular race. For example, an employee may be denied relevant training, making them less likely to be considered or selected for redundancy. Some of the reasons that may make employees to be denied training opportunities include involvement in malicious acts or if they report acts of discrimination in their company.Dismissal of persons from their positions or jobs based on their ethnicity is also a common practice in some firms in the United States, especially during and after the period of slave trade. However, the trend has been on the decline in the current millennium due to interventions by the government, workers unions, and industrial policies that guard employees against racial discrimination and exploitation, although the incidents are still significant. Actions of dismissing persons because of their affiliation to a particular race, perceived race or associating with members of a certain races amount to unfair dismissal (Acas 17).The Measures for Addressing Racial Segregation in Places of WorkIn light of the common problems of racial segregation at the work places, several recommendations can be suggested. First, firms, senior and line managers, human resource personnel, employees and representatives of trade unions should broadly understand the issue of racial segregation in places of work, how racial discrimination may arise, their responsibilities and rights, available employer`s anti-racial policies and acceptable behaviors and strive to address the areas of weaknesses. It is worth noting that employee and staff awareness of company acceptable social behavior is critical because employees are able to shape all aspects of their behavior in line with the acceptable code of the company. However, employers could provide training and built an organizational culture that is based on diversity and equality. These two aspects, equality, and diversity are vital in developing constructive understanding and awareness among employees (Schaffer 78).Seabrook and Wyatt-Nichol discuss that people (employees) may not be aware that certain nicknames, jokes, invasive questions and `banters` can amount to racial segregation of their colleagues and that they are unlawful. It is affirmed that employers and employees should be careful with utterances and questions related to their colleagues` protected aspects or characteristics, as it may be discriminatory (Seabrook & Wyatt-Nichol 29).Considering the rich diversity of the American population, employers should be aware of a multicultural team of employees. Besides, employees should be respectful and sensitive towards such variations. Acas states that training of employees to establish understanding and a culture of mutual respect can help workers to identify unacceptable and acceptable company social behaviors (Acas 18). Besides, the assumptions by employees and employers that people from particular races posses certain characteristics should be avoided. Racial stereotypes (both intended and unintended) can have negative repercussions and connotations. For example, statements that indicate that all people belonging to a specific race are lazy at doing certain tasks is likely to be taken as offensive by persons from that race and it is potentially race segregation. Finally yet important, some forms of compliments are racially offensive. For example, asserting that a certain employee is intelligent is highly intelligent because he/she belongs to a specific ethnicity or race (Seabrook & Wyatt-Nichol 26).The employees should be trained on the terminology that is unacceptable and acceptable in case there is a genuine need to mention a colleague`s color, race, ethnicity, nationality, or national origin. Unnecessary mentioning of the mentioned factors could be discriminatory. Derogatory words that are used to refer to a particular race are clearly discriminatory and should be considered unacceptable. Conversations at places of work should be professional and discrete (Seabrook & Wyatt-Nichol 36). In addition, The employees and employers should be mindful of the variations in aspects such as religion, beliefs between races. For instance, employers should have designated areas or facilities for Muslims, Christians, and Sikhism and the organization policies should encourage tolerance for other races. Due to globalization, firms are sourcing employees from all regions across the world. Selection of candidates for various positions should not be based on the first language, nationality, continent, or place of origin. Employers should also seek to be inclusive to the employees who are disadvantaged based on their race (Acas 30 Seabrook & Wyatt-Nichol 34).Even as these steps are implemented, the employers should take to help employees that are disadvantaged, underrepresented, have specific needs because of the race by removing barriers and ensuring support through encouragement and training to increase participation of the segregated group of employees (Seabrook & Wyatt-Nichol 32). Besides, the Equality Act provides an even ground for equal compensation for people of all races. Different channels of advertising should be utilized to avoid attracting potential employees from specific races. The advert should be universal and clear of any specific race, nationality firms should focus on informing potential employees on the skill and information that are required for various positionsConclusionIn conclusion, the purpose of this paper was to discuss ways of addressing the issue of racial segregation places of work in the United States as one of the means of making the world a better place. It is evident that various forms of racial segregation, including direct and indirect segregation, and harassment and victimization are common in places of work. These behaviors are evidenced during work promotion, recruitment, training, and payment, implementation of terms and conditions, and dismissal of employees. Some of the remedies for racial discrimination in places of work include managing cultural differences, avoiding stereotypes, promoting culturally diverse languages and developing supportive organization policies. The employees should be trained on the terminology that is unacceptable and acceptable in case there is a genuine need to mention a colleague`s color, race, ethnicity and nationality. However, the ability to realize these goals calls upon committed leadership.Works CitedAcas. Race discrimination: key points for the workplace. Retrieved on2016. Web. March 12, 2017<, from http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/1/6/Race-discrimination-key-points-for-the-workplace.pdf>Jost, Kenneth. Racial profiling: The issues. CQ Researcher.23(42): 1007 2013.Pew Research Center. Racial, gender wage gaps persist in U.S. despite some progress. 2016. Web. March 12, 2017
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