Discrimination is an issue for the business community, because it shuts out competing viewpoints and opinions. Discriminatory practices may be applied under the guise of concern for company interests, yet those people denied access to decision making roles, or even the right to work, due to these practices are simply victims of the bigotry espoused by individuals. Though managers and subordinates may justify their actions as helpful, they usually hurt the company in the long run. Certain discrimination is blatant, but many examples exist in the workplace that may go unnoticed.
Probably the most obvious forms of discrimination that have been seen in the workplace revolve around race and gender. Of course, it is also important to recognize racism and sexism are double-edged swords. Racism is not solely discrimination toward minorities by a majority, especially on the world stage, while men are not the only ones guilty of sexism. Minorities within a community will often compete for racial superiority or respond to a history of racial tension through racism against others. For women, emasculating men can also be a form of retaliation while women often buy into sexist views against women as well.
Discriminatory practices have often been instigated by managers through a variety of hiring practices and management decisions. Outright inequity in hiring practices takes the form of denying individuals, who belong to certain a gender, race, ethnicity, and/or religion, positions at a firm or selecting them for undesirable jobs. Inversely, a manager might also promote individuals based on these factors. Along with lower pay, this form of bigotry can, however, be relatively easy to detect. A boss that assigns difficult tasks to those with undesirable traits or allows coworkers to harass others is often a form of discrimination not so easy to prove.
Meanwhile, discrimination based on religion is a growing problem in many companies across the globe. At the same time, age discrimination is an issue for both the old and young. What makes these forms of discrimination easy to hide is that bias against these characteristics can simply be masked by hiring or firing decisions based in other factors. Although a trend may be tracked across a broad population to demonstrate a cultural level of discrimination, proving an individual incident of discrimination can be difficult. Then gain, discrimination against some disabled individuals, for example, can be straightforward, yet be justified and lead to few repercussions.
The face of discrimination is constantly changing. As such, anyone can be a victim of discriminatory practices in the workplace. While a physically handicapped individual, for example, can show a facility is inadequate, mentally handicapped individuals may not be able to demonstrate they were fired or not hired due to their disability. At the same time, the push to solve the problem of discrimination can also lead to reverse discrimination or those belonging to disenfranchised being held to lower standards, thus creating resentment among the more qualified and greater opposition to efforts to establish equality.