Diversity, inclusion, and equity (DIE) are profound aspects that determine organizational performance and the employees’ ability to thrive in ever-dynamic workplace environments. It is essential to note that organizations comply with internal and external policies that embed diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace culture. However, Gentle-Genitty et al. (2021) contend that organizational cultures are susceptible to conscious and unconscious stratifications that manifest through differences in primary and secondary dimensions of diversity, including ethnic backgrounds, racial differences, religious standpoints, age, gender, and sexual orientations. Differences in these social entities exacerbate discrimination, social oppression, and marginalization.
Fekedulegn et al. (2019) perceive discrimination as adverse treatment based on personal aspects, including age, gender, and sexuality. Despite emphasizing the governmental and organizational legislation designed to protect employees against discrimination, this uncivil behavior remains a perversive challenge. As a result, this paper describes gender gaps in leadership, wages, and employment, as well as the seven Types of discriminatory practices in the workplace that do not Foster an environment of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Also, it elaborates on the three best practices for improving diversity, inclusion, and equity in the work environment.
Gender Gaps in Leadership, Wages, and Employment
Unfair treatment of employees and prevalent negative perceptions toward people of specific social characteristics underpin discrimination in the workplace. It is essential to note that the adverse consequences of discrimination in workplaces include racism, sexism, ageism, harassment, and mistreatment (Fekedulegn et al., 2019). Although the current organizational and governmental laws prohibit uncivil behaviors like bullying, harassment, and oppression based on people’s social and natural characteristics, it is possible to identify conspicuous discrepancies in leadership, wages, and employment opportunities. Primarily, people of specific ethnic, gender, religious standpoints, age, and sexual orientations are susceptible to limited access to employment opportunities, gaps in leadership, and low wages.
In the United States, current organizational surveys and studies reveal unbridged chasms in workplaces in terms of leadership opportunities, wages, and employment opportunities. According to Barroso & Brown (2021), women are more vulnerable to limited leadership opportunities and low wages compared to men. In 2020, female employees in the United States earned 84% of men’s earnings in full-and part-time working settings. Consequently, female employees would require to work for an extra 42 days to bridge the payment gap. Barroso & Brown (2021) contend that wage gaps between female and male employees prevail alongside other elements of gender-based discrimination, including limited support from organizational leadership helm, earning low wages while doing the same jobs as men, isolation in the workplace, access to limited opportunities for job promotion, and the subsequent denial of the most vital assignments. The National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination 2017 report revealed that women in Mexico earn 34.2% less than men with similar job roles and responsibilities (Rivera-Romano et al., 2020). This gender-based wage gap means that female employees must work for around 15 months to bridge the chasms. Notable, the perversive discriminative behaviors and acts compromise diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace.
Besides the prevailing wage disparities between female and male employees, women have limited access to top management positions despite the vibrant vigor for diversity, equity, and inclusion. According to Rivera-Romano et al. (2020), men hold more top management positions than men, 44% and 27%, respectively. Multiple workplace factors affect women’s ability to ascend to top managerial positions in contemporary organizations. For example, interruptions in careers and difficulties in accessing professional development opportunities are primarily limitations toward equity in top leadership positions. Similarly, Toczek et al. (2021) contend that access to education, compromised opportunities for vocational training, and work-life interruptions are vital factors that explain the prevailing inequalities in leadership positions. In this sense, women grapple with limited access to education and training and must balance work with household/family roles and responsibilities. These factors affect their career trajectories and compromise chances for professional development and career advancement. Finally, it is essential to note that compromised access to education and training affects women’s employment opportunities.
Seven Types of Discriminatory Practices in the Workplace that do not Foster an Environment of DEI
Discrimination is a significant challenge for organizations because it is embedded in the workplace culture. Often, it manifests through unfair treatment of people that belong to a protected class (people with specific primary and secondary dimensions of diversity). In other instances, discrimination facilitates unpleasant behaviors and acts, including distasteful jokes, physical assault, threats, insults, hostility, illegal termination of employment contracts, unfair firing, and exclusion from vital job assignments. Based on the prevailing primary and secondary dimensions of diversity in the workplace, it is possible to categorize discriminatory practices into seven types:
Racial and ethnic diversity is common in contemporary organizations, especially considering the impact of globalization and the subsequent determination to ensure equity and inclusion. However, organizations that do not foster an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are susceptible to discriminatory practices based on employees’ ethnic backgrounds and races. In the United States, African Americans report a 60% higher rate of discrimination than other races and ethnicities (Fekedulegn et al., 2019). It is essential to note that negative implicit and explicit biases, as well as firmly held stereotypes toward people of specific ethnic backgrounds, perpetuate racial discrimination, leading to harassment, unfair treatment, bullying, exclusion, and oppression of the marginalized section of employees.
Similarly, religious differences facilitate unethical behaviors and acts, including harassment, denial of employment opportunities, unfair treatment, bullying, and exclusion. According to Schneider et al. (2022), religious beliefs intersect with other elements of workplace diversity and are crucial in determining people’s perceptions of morality and unethical behaviors. As a result, conflicts may manifest when people uphold religious and nonreligious perspectives. An example of a context where religious-associated conflicts may manifest is when determining the ethical backing of LGBTQ+ people.
People with disabilities do not access or experience access to work opportunities compared to employees without disabilities. In this sense, employers endorse negative perceptions about people with disabilities, leading to their underemployment, involuntary employment, and lower-than-average payments (Bonaccio et al., 2019). Other discriminatory practices facing people with disabilities include exclusion, ridicule, insults, hostility, bullying, and harassment.
Pregnant women are susceptible to discriminatory practices such as denial of job promotions, payment deductions, termination of employment contracts, and limited employment opportunities. According to Hackney et al. (2021), pregnancy discrimination results in multiple adverse effects, including postpartum depressive symptoms, stress, and depression among pregnant employees. It is essential to treatment perceive pregnancy as a dimension of diversity and treat pregnant women with respect and dignity.
Age is a primary dimension of workplace diversity that is non-modifiable. In this sense, employees have no control over their ages and multiple age-related body changes. Fekedulegn et al. (2019) argue that age discrimination targets young and older employees. For example, people may perceive young employees as inexperienced, naive, and incompetent. In the same vein, older employees are susceptible to negative stereotypes regarding their “deteriorating” cognitive functions and their willingness to accept change. Age-related discrimination can lead to reluctance to promote, train, and hire employees.
Gender discrimination is perversive and majorly disproportionate to female employees. Toczek et al. (2021) argue that gender-based discrimination manifests through disparities in the labor market facilitated by social factors, including limited access to education, training opportunities, and work-life interruptions. At the organizational level, gender-based discrimination alongside other discriminatory practices toward women, including wage gaps, limited access to employment opportunities, sexual harassment, and unfair treatment of women during job promotion and career advancement programs.
Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
Gender minority groups (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) are susceptible to this form of discrimination. According to Ayhan et al. (2019), these groups face stigma, negative attitudes and perceptions, physical violence, economic abuse, harassment, and threats. More essentially, this type of discrimination is often consistent with religious beliefs that determine people’s perceptions of life, morality, and sexuality. Discriminatory practices toward LGBTQ people affect their performance, socialization ability, and productivity.
Three Strategies (best practices) to Improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Work Environment
The organizational interventions for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion depend massively upon internal workplace variables, including culture, leadership styles, opportunities for learning, and the presence of performance measurement metrics. According to Shore et al. (2018), organizational leaders are now aware of the importance of cultivating inclusive workplace environments that facilitate equity and diversity. Also, they understand the intricacies and demands of fostering inclusive workplace environments. However, various challenges jeopardize the possibility of improving workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion. These challenges include the underlying implicit and explicit perceptions, unsupportive workplace culture, resistance to change, and limited opportunities for employee enlightenment and training. Consequently, it is possible to promote workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as address the underlying constraints by implementing three profound strategies:
Appropriate Talent Acquisition and Retention
Notably, organizations grapple with various types of discrimination based on the prevailing primary and secondary dimensions of diversity, including age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, race, and physical abilities. As a result, discriminatory practices can result in disproportionate hiring, unfair treatment of employees, harassment, physical violence, and wage gaps. Based on the negative consequences of these discriminatory practices, organizations should consider revamping approaches for talent acquisition and retention. According to Shore et al. (2018), retention of diverse talent is a challenging endeavor and requires organizations to focus on and recognize accomplishments, employability skills, and qualifications. Competency-based and merited hiring enable organizations to ignore stereotypes and diversity elements that facilitate discrimination. Further, organizations should train employees, provide social and psychological support, and provide equal professional development opportunities to ensure employee retention.
Developing Anti-discrimination Policies
An organizational policy provides mechanisms for achieving desired outcomes. In contemporary organizations, the urge to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion represents the desired outcome. Shore et al. (2018) contend that inclusive organizations should build on regulatory fit theory that focuses on averting exclusion, managing micro inequalities and subtle discrimination, and providing the foundations of inclusion, diversity, and equity. It is essential to note that a comprehensive organizational policy for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) includes an in-depth explanation of ethical standards for employees, a statement of all illegal, discriminatory practices, and clear stipulations on the legal binding and the expected detrimental consequences of facilitating exclusion, oppression, and discrimination. Notably, developing a policy can complement the existing federal policies that prohibit discrimination.
Creating Awareness Through Employee Education and Training
Finally, creating awareness through education and training programs is a profound strategy for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion because it enables employees to understand and eliminate implicit and explicit biases that facilitate exclusion. Olzmann (2020) recommends that organizations promote learning and understanding microaggressions, micro affirmations, imposter syndrome, and stereotype threat. Further, cultural competence and humility training can enable employees to acquire knowledge of their cultural predispositions, improving tolerance, and facilitating compliance with organizational and governmental anti-discrimination policies. These education and training programs require adequate funding, frequent monitoring, and effective leadership to yield the desired results.
Discrimination based on primary and secondary dimensions of diversity compromises equity and inclusion. In this sense, employees are susceptible to unfair treatment, physical violence, harassment, and denial of employment opportunities based on their age, gender, ethnic background, race, pregnancy status, and sexual orientation. Organizations must address these types of discrimination to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Although this process is a daunting endeavor, it is possible to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity by adopting appropriate talent acquisition and retention practices, developing anti-discrimination policies, and creating awareness through employee education and training.
Ayhan, C. H. B., Bilgin, H., Uluman, O. T., Sukut, O., Yilmaz, S., & Buzlu, S. (2019). A systematic review of the discrimination against sexual and gender minority in health care settings. International Journal of Health Services, 50(1), 44–61. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020731419885093
Barroso, A., & Brown, A. (2021, May 25). Gender pay gap in U.S. held steady in 2020. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/05/25/gender-pay-gap-facts/
Bonaccio, S., Connelly, C. E., Gellatly, I. R., Jetha, A., & Martin Ginis, K. A. (2019). The participation of people with disabilities in the workplace across the employment cycle: Employer concerns and research evidence. Journal of Business and Psychology, 35(35). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-018-9602-5
Fekedulegn, D., Alterman, T., Charles, L. E., Kershaw, K. N., Safford, M. M., Howard, V. J., & MacDonald, L. A. (2019). Prevalence of workplace discrimination and mistreatment in a national sample of older U.S. workers: The REGARDS cohort study. SSM – Population Health, 8(1), 100444. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2019.100444
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Hackney, K. J., Daniels, S. R., Paustian-Underdahl, S. C., Perrewé, P. L., Mandeville, A., & Eaton, A. A. (2020). Examining the effects of perceived pregnancy discrimination on mother and baby health. Journal of Applied Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000788
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Essay: Address the following prompts that impact DEI in the 21st century workplace. Address each prompt using at least 500 words for a total of at least (1500 words).
Describe the gender gap in leadership, wages, and employment.
Define seven types of discriminatory practices in the workplace that do not foster an environment of DEI
Discuss three strategies (best practices) to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the work environment.
Length: 1500 – 1750 words; answers must thoroughly address the questions in a clear, concise manner.
Structure: Include a title page and reference page in APA style. These do not count towards the minimum word count for this assignment.
References: Use the appropriate APA style in-text citations and references for all resources utilized to answer the questions. Include at least three (3) scholarly sources to support your claims.
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