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Discrimination

In: Business and Management

Submitted By aknandy1967
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Introduction

Our “Business law” course instructor was a renowned veteran female lawyer. In our class, she shared numerous experiences from her law practice life. Most humiliating among them was that when she started practicing law in a court of Ontario a couple of decades ago, there was no toilet for women in the court premises! History shows that women were subject to discrimination from the very beginning of the civilization. In the ancient times, women were treated just as a tool. Nobody even thought about their rights or opinions. In terms of age, almost close to the discrimination against women is slavery. Ancient civilizations were developed on the basis of hard work of the slaves. Slaves were treated like no better than animals or machines. Slavery is nothing but a form of discrimination based on races.

According to Oxford dictionary, discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. Canadian Human Rights Act defines discrimination as an action or a decision that treats a person or a group negatively for as much as 11 reasons namely, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, and a conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended. These reasons are known as grounds of discrimination.

Example in hiring process

In the recruitment and selection processes of the workplaces, there exists two types of discriminations - direct and indirect. For example, a qualified female job applicant might be rejected and a less qualified male candidate might be selected because the employer or existing workers prefer to work with males. Moreover, in an interview, the employer might ask a particular question like having or plan to have children in near future, only to the female applicants. These are examples of direct discrimination. Indirect discrimination is very hard to detect. In a job requirement, inclusion of minimum height or weight bars could disqualify many women job-seekers although it is not a bona-fide occupational requirement. Sometimes, interview and orientation schedule is set in late hour aiming to avoid attendance of women with children.

In order to unveil the existence of racial discrimination in hiring process, Marianne Bertrand, an associate professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and Sendhil Mullainathan of Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted a study named “Are Emily and Brendan More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?" In this study, during the period of July 2001-May 2002 they sent 5,000 fictitious resumes, in a combination of white-sounding names and non-white-sounding names, in response to 1,300 job ads for different positions published in the “Boston Globe” and the “Chicago tribune”. The result of the study shows that 1 from every 10 job applications with white-sounding names got call for interview. Whereas, the ratio of interview call to the non-white-sounding applicants was 1:15. Another aspect of the result was that white-sounding named applications with higher qualification got 30% more interview calls compared to the white-sounding named applications with normal qualification. Surprisingly, non-white-sounding named applications got only 9% more interview calls by virtue of their richer credentials.

Protection in Canada

In Canada, the ways by which discriminated groups are protected can be divided into two categories. They are:- 1. by enacting and enforcing federal, Provincial, and territorial laws In 1982, Canadian parliament promulgated Charter of Rights and Freedoms as part of the Constitution of Canada. Each and every Canadians right to be treated equally under the law is protected by the charter. Any Canadian aggrieved by any action of a government organization can file complaints under the charter in a court. In 1977, parliament of Canada enacted Canadian Human Rights Act to protect the people of Canada against any discrimination on the basis of one or more of the 11 grounds stated above. In addition, all the provinces and territories have own human rights laws which are almost similar to the Canadian Human Rights Act. 2. through federal organizations One of the important organisation which promotes necessary measures to prevent discrimination in Canada is Canadian Human Rights Commission. There is another independent body called Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. In some cases the commission refers discrimination complaint to the Tribunal. The tribunal acts like a court.

Impact on victims

Discrimination can cause immense effects in the psychological, social, political, and economic domains of the victims. It results in anxiety, sadness, depression and a feeling of guilt and emptiness. It also leaves that person confused and broken. These often translate into depression, loss of interest, eating disorders and stress-related ailments. They might start taking alcohol or drugs, form their own opinions on others, develop hatred for others, or withdraw from society. Since a portion of the population of a country do not remain in a position to do something fruitful, the country suffers economically. The worst side of this issue is the retaliation from the concerned group in the form violence, vandalism, and looting which costs a lot to the society as well as to the country. For example, there were six racial riots in USA upto year 2014 since Mr. Barrack Obama assumed the presidential office. In these riots the mob looted, damaged, burned shops, business houses, and buildings. A lot of people and police officers got serious injury. These incidents cost millions of dollars to the US economy.

Individual effort to stop

It is very easy to say but very hard to eliminate discrimination. I should believe and practice anti-discrimination, I should respect other’s values and cultures. I should suggest my family members, relatives, friends, and persons known to me to behave equally to others and not to hate anyone who are different from them. I should form a club or group with the persons those are against discrimination. Through this club, we will arrange programs to build social consciousness. I myself and using the forum would constructively protest against any kind of discriminative activities. If I found someone who is deliberately discriminative, I should boycott that person and should ask others to follow me. If necessary, I should advice the victim to make complain to appropriate authority against a discriminant. Thus I, as an individual, could contribute some to achieve the goal of eradicating discrimination form our society.

Conclusion

A century did not pass yet since the women are given their due rights in most of the countries of the world. Still, there are some countries where women are deprived. Although direct and expressed slavery phased out from the world, indirect and hidden slavery and other forms of racial discrimination still exist in almost all over the world. Recently, in an article in world famous magazine the Guardian, David Cameron, the prime minister of Great Britain, wrote - “For all the legislation we have passed, discrimination still persists. It’s no longer signs on doors that say: ‘no blacks allowed’; it’s quieter and more subtle discrimination,” Discrimination, whatever the ground is, causes serious and straight forward negative effect on the affected groups initially. Later, the aftermath is ferocious and the society as a whole has to pay for this. It is not possible to stop discrimination by enacting strict laws and regulations with rigorous punishment only. Massive awareness in the society is the only way to halt recurrence of such kinds of injustice.

References

Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/discrimination
What is discrimination? Canadian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved from http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca /eng/content/what-discrimination
Strain, M. General Discrimination in the Workplace & Hiring Practices. Demand Media, Small Business. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/gender-discrimination-workplace-hiring-practices-36679.html
Racial Bias in Hiring. (Vol. 4 No. 4 Spring 2003) Capital Ideas Research Highlights from The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Retrieved from https://www.chicagobooth.edu/capideas/ spring03/ racialbias.html
How are human rights protected in Canada? Canadian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved from http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng/content/how-are-human-rights-protected-canada
Effects of Discrimination. eSchoolToday. Retrieved from http://eschooltoday.com/discrimination-and-prejudice/effects-of-discrimination.html
Smith, Todd. The End of Discriminations Starts With You. LITTLE THINGS MATTER. Retrieved from http://www.littlethingsmatter.com/blog/2010/08/17/the-end-of-discrimination-starts-with-you/
David Cameron outlines move to be implemented from 2017 as he aims to end ‘unconscious bias’ in application process. (2015, October 26). The guardian (UK). Retrieved from http://www.theguardian. com/education/2015/oct/26/ucas-name-blind-university-applications-racial-bias

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