Racial discrimination, even after the emancipation of Black Americans in 1865, still exists. Legal and political measures have been established to abolish racial discrimination all over the U.S. but it remains a social plague.
According to natural law, we came from the same race, a race created by God, regardless of color and nationality we are all created equally and should live in one world that is also created by the same God. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 stated that racial discrimination in every institution (school, public places, employment) should be eliminated. Specified in this law is the elimination of discrimination in employment that includes state and local governments/ agencies and private companies. With this statement, it is unjustifiable to act or behave in a way that inhibits equal treatment and opportunity between workers regardless of their race. Despite these laws, it is heart-breaking to note that racial discrimination is still rampant in the workplace. At some point some of the victims have grown tired of fighting because they are not only fighting against the offenders but also struggling with their self-esteem. However, there are those victims who chose not to be silent about it. And in a country as litigious as the U.S., the only recourse to get justice for being a victim of discrimination is to sue the offender and the entire company.
Even well established and trans-national companies in the United States have not escaped the justified rage of the victims of racial discrimination. Here are some examples:
- In 2001, computer manufacturer Apple Inc. confronted a lawsuit from a former employee who alleged that he was denied promotion and benefits because of his race. He further claimed that he suffered isolation from other employees and was terminated with insignificant reasons.
- In 2005, courier Fed Ex and fashion brand Abercrombie and Fitch faced multiple cases of racial discrimination from African American, Asian – American and Latin American employees.
- In 2008, everyone's favorite coffeeshop, Starbucks Coffee, was sued by an African American employee who accused a white American co-worker of degrading remarks and utterances against him. Starbucks settled the matter by paying $120,000 to the aggrieved employee.
Racial discrimination costs millions of dollars in compensation and lawyers’ fee. To avoid being incurring these costs, companies need to adopt some measures inhibiting racial discrimination in the workplace.
- Keep the awareness burning. The company should raise awareness about equal opportunity and treatment between their workers. The company must take an active role in promoting the importance of equality amongst employees in order to create a good working environment.
- Establish company rules dealing with racial discrimination. As people say, talk is cheap. It is not enough that the company figureheads talk about not tolerating racial discrimination. There also must be written rules regarding this issue. There must have rules and regulations that appropriately punish or reprimand employees who commit racial discrimination. This will show how serious the company is creating a racially sensitive workplace.
- Sponsor company activities that promote team spirit. Group activities like company outings and team building seminars present an opportunity for people to get to know each other on a more personal level out of the normal workplace setting. This is good because the focus shifts from a competitive environment to a more relaxed setting. This gives employees the chance to see the people they are working on a different light.
- Promote productivity over diversity. Diversity is good but sometimes it can be detrimental in a multi-cultural organization. Putting a priority on productivity rather than diversity allows people to focus on getting the job done rather than on their personal differences, biases and prejudices. To put more emphasis on this matter, reward people who are productive on a monthly basis.