Saturday, February 8, 2014

What is Reverse Discrimination?

Reverse discrimination, a relatively new concept, is discrimination against a dominant or a majority group and in favor of a minority or disadvantaged group. Here, the groups can be distinguished as a different ethnicity, race, religion or gender.

Sometimes, organizations have a certain quota for ethnic employees which they have to fill. In this case, an applicant belonging to a certain Ethnic group or race is given preference, even if he or she may be less qualified than any other applicants. The main reason behind creating a quota for the minority groups is so that there is equal opportunity for all groups and races; however, with a certain quota, often a less qualified applicant is accepted for a designation that he or she might not be able to handle.
The same rule is applicable for educational institutes also. In an attempt to increase diversity among the students, many universities and colleges have a quota to fill with African-America, Asian, African and Hispanic students, beside the usual Caucasian scholars. Though it certainly succeeds in creating a diverse student body, many able Caucasian, or White, students are often denied their choice of subject as the quota for that subject has already been fulfilled.
It is also said that students from the minority groups easily get admission into college so that the institutions can boast of their diversified student body. The same rules also apply in case of professional sports too.
Though reverse discrimination is mostly seen in the field of race or ethnicity, it is also noticed in the cases of sex or gender too.
Just as with racial reverse discrimination, some organizations have a quota for a certain number of female employees to be hired in the top management positions of the country. These top female executives can either he headhunted or promoted from the lower designations of the organization. In many cases, in order to fill the quotas of the female top management employees, capable male applicants are passed over to give the position to female employees who may not be up to the mark. In some careers this is not possible. Consider how many years it takes to become a medical assistant versus a hospital administrator: 2 years vs 6 years. How can an assistant, who has limited knowledge of a practice, be picked over someone who has 4 more years of education, not to mention experience?
The Feminist Movement is one of the most famous examples of reverse gender discrimination. Since all walks of life, from work to home, gives more importance to male than the female population, the women who are feminists or who follow Feminism demand that the female face is superior to men and should be treated so. Feminists not only demand equal rights as their male counterparts, but sometimes more rights and liberties.
The United States government is so focused on assuring the rights of the minority groups, that a portion of the majority group, namely the White feel like, at times, they are being discriminated against. According to them, discrimination against the White also exists in the US. An example as such is a lawsuit filed by Mr. Mark Hillaker Jr., an environmental technician at Hurley Medical Center, on grounds that he is being discriminated against because he is White.
Other such examples of lawsuits exist in the United States, where individuals belonging to a majority group or a man have filed lawsuits against discrimination.
Reverse Discrimination is a term that has caused mixed feeling among all communities. Although having a specific quota for female employees or a minority student quota is sometimes helpful and welcome, according to some, discrimination is discrimination and it is never a good thing. Discrimination against the majority is as bad as discrimination against the minority. Therefore, while reverse discrimination sometimes gives a false sense of security to women or minorities, it is nevertheless unfair and unwelcome to many.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ageism in the Workplace: Not the Price to Pay for Getting Old

Ageism in the workplace, as the name suggests, refers to discrimination regarding age in the workplace. Although less noticeable than any other sort of discrimination, it is never-the-less prevalent in every society. Age discrimination has a lot of faces in the workplace, and it can be due to being both younger and older than the general population.

Older people who are close to their retirement age have a hard time getting new job, even if they are more qualified than the other applicants. This is because, the employers in question think that they have no need of a job or because they ought to give the opportunity to someone younger and new. Also, sometimes it is assumed that they will miss work more or need frequent, if not regular, medical attention. Again, when it comes to lying off employees because of some reason, the older employees of the organization are usually the victim. Some employers prefer a fresh outlook and a younger mind for some specific posts rather than experience.
In some cases, experienced workers demand, or rather, deserve a higher salary than new faces in the field. A employee who has spend a large amount of time in a specific field, if s/he applies for work in a field different than his or her lifetime of work, there is a high chance the application will be rejected, on the basis that it will take them a much longer time to adjust to the new field.
Other reasons for not be willing to hire older people could be that they are usually averse to new ways and technology; they are slower to accept new ideas and reluctant to change their opinion or decision. Physically, they are slower and less productive in their ways.
On the other hand, young people applying for posts with heavy responsibilities are often not considered for the job because of lack of experience. Even with a high qualification, young applicants are rejected because they do not have enough familiarity with the job. Younger employees are not trusted with important assignments for fear that they might not be able to take proper decisions in times of need.
In general, it can be said that most organizations have a definite ides what their employees would look like, and decide to work with a workforce that is between a certain age limit, with a certain amount of experience and openness to new ideas. Anybody who falls outside this point of view is generally rejected or dismissed by them.
Almost everybody has to face ageism in the workplace at some time or another regardless of whether they were immune or discriminated earlier in their based on gender, race, background or sexual preference.
It is even possible to be a victim of age discrimination when a person is in their late-thirties. Deciding to change one’s field of career at this age, or wanting to start as an intern in a new field could turn out to be difficult even in one’s prime. Young people are preferred in some careers such as the creative and marketing field where they can bring new ideas to the table better than the older generation. Jobs that include physical activities and out-of-the-office activities prefer young people.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 forbids any discrimination in the workplace against anyone less than 40 years of age in the United States. The ADEA prohibits:
  1. Discrimination in hiring, promotion or wage based on age,
  2. Specification of age in job advertisements,
  3. Denial of benefits to older employees and
  4. Mandatory retirement in most sectors.
However, as with any form of discrimination, the main cure is to change the society’s point of view and thought pattern, rather than impose laws on them.