Application Exercise 10p: Discrimination in the workplace real case studies
- Using the case study relating to Geoff as an example, explain how discrimination at workplaces can result
Discrimination at workplaces can result in the affected employees feeling isolated and insecure in their employment, potentially leading to poor mental health and loss in productivity. Unemployment can result because the particular employee may resign as a means of escaping the discrimination. Alternatively, the employee may be fired for poor performance (lost productivity) which is a result of the discrimination. In relation to Geoff in the example provided, his frustration at not being listened to in the face of continuing discrimination resulted in him ‘walking out on his job’ i.e. resigning), and therefore becoming unemployed (at least in the short term until he was able to find another job.)
- Explain if there is likely to be a relationship between someone experiencing workplace bullying/ discrimination and their willingness to stay in the workforce.
The existence of workplace bulling and/or discrimination is likely to reduce an employee’s willingness to stay in the workforce. This is particularly the case if discrimination continues from one workplace to another. In the case of Geoff, his walking out of his previous job may not be enough to cause him to exit the workforce altogether (i.e. stop looking for work or being willing to accept a new job.) However, if he continued to be bullied in his next job then it is more likely he will refuse to consider future employment.( i.e. exit the labour force.)
- Define hidden unemployment and discuss the possibility of Geoff becoming a member of the pool of
Hidden unemployment refers to those people who are not working (but would accept a job if one was offered), yet they are not technically classified as unemployed because they are not actively seeking employment. These people are typically discouraged from actively seeking employment because of factors such as past rejections at job interview, the poor state of the economy, bad experiences at former workplaces etc. There is a possibility that if Geoff continues to experience discrimination in the workplace, he could become hidden unemployed as he becomes a ‘discouraged job seeker.’
- Using the case studies to illustrate, discuss the possibility of indigenous Australians earning less than other Australians even when they perform the same work.
The possibility of this occurring is heightened to the extent that discrimination against Indigenous Australians isolates them in workplaces and has a negative impact on their self-esteem, productivity and/or performance, which in turn is likely to increase the likelihood of businesses offering them reduced rates of pay (or not employing them in certain roles) and in Indigenous Australians being forced to accept reduced rates of pay.
- Discuss the role of government in preventing workplace
The government has a clear role to play in establishing and enforcing laws at are designed to protect against discrimination and harassment in all workplaces. It must ensure that the laws are clear and that mechanisms are put in place such that access to the law by aggrieved workers is easy and that enforcement of the law, through the courts, has potency and therefore provides ongoing deterrence to discrimination in all Australian workplaces.