Discrimination and Health and Safety in a Legal and Business Context

Most business organizations entrepreneurs assert that they have created discrimination-free working environments. However, they may end up being disgruntled by one complain forwarded by an employee dissatisfied with the entity’s operations. It is from this that we realize how vague and blurred employers’ operating assumptions may have been. There are a number of negative effects that an organization may face in case such complaints are brought up. Some of them include negative publicity, financial penalties, low employee motivation and reduction in employee morale. Discrimination is asserted to be an instance where an employee is accorded less favourability in relation to others. This may be due to a number of tributes such as race, age, sex and disability. There are a number of discrimination cases within the workplace discouraged by the government. It is also important to note that this discrimination is not only tied to colour, race sex, religion, nationality and ethnicity.

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Various laws have been enacted in order to ensure that organizations and business entities are free from discrimination. One of these laws is the Civil Acts Law of 1964 that considers discrimination illegal based on race, colour, sex, religion and nationality. In addition to this, the 1963 Equal Pay Act ensures that both men and women performing substantially are protected from exploitation and oppression especially basing their salaries and wages in relation to their sexes. There is also the 1960 Age Discrimination Act that protects those employees who are over forty years old.

In addition to the above, there are a number of factors that are taken into consideration when reviewing cases that are asserted to be discriminating. Some of these are the hiring and firing procedures, assignments, compensations, transfers, layoffs and recalls. It is the right of each worker to be protected and to work in an environment that is safe and healthy, an environment that is free of discrimination and any form of violence. In this regard, no employee should be accorded any preferential treatment or favours at the expense of others. The employer is expected by the law to extend to and provide his or her employees with the same opportunities and policies.

Any employer or employee who contradicts set laws and regulations is liable and shall be charged in the criminal law court. Wal-Mart can attest to this fact because it has once been a victim of discrimination within its working environment. A number of court cases have been reported by a number of employees in relation to discrimination in the workplaces. As already noted earlier, one of these cases that cannot escape our eyes is the one involving Wal- Mart. Wal- Mart as an entity was accused of discriminating against its female employees in the Asian market. A female employee had complaint that the treatment accorded to them was based on their gender and not their expertise or experience. This form of discrimination is considered illegal and it is a breach of the stated laws. The employment act states categorically that no employment opportunities should be based on gender or sex, all employees should be given the same treatment and equal opportunities for growth.

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As already noted, every employee has a right to a safe and conducive working environment. There are a number of set laws that are supposed to protect employees experiencing violence in their places of work. These laws ensure that employees’ safety is given an upper hand and the attention it deserves. On the other hand, workplace violence has been understood as physical assault, verbal abuse, behaviours that are threatening, sexual harassment and racial discrimination within the working environment. Violence within the work setting is fatal and can result to very devastating impacts on the victim experiencing the violence, family, colleagues and pals. The victims are always feeling isolated, anxious and will lay the blame on themselves for all that is happening. However, it is important to note that the victim of workplace violence should not be blamed; the perpetrators should be considered wrong and effective actions taken. Violence has detrimental effects on the organization too; it affects its productivity levels.

Bullying and violence within the work settings takes a number of forms that are related to some of the already enacted laws. One of the laws is the health and safety law. Under this law, it is the statutory role of the employer to provide the employees a safe working environment, an environment that is free from risks and dangers. The employer is owed with the responsibility of providing adequate first aid equipment, protective clothing, safe and sound working machines and enough escape channels in case of emergencies. Similarly, the employees also have a role to play. Employees are expected to take reasonable care in relation to protecting themselves and being safe. When an employer observes violence taking place within the organization without taking necessary actions and measures, this is regarded to as a breach of set obligations. It is in this regard that the behaviour of Wal-Mart is considered discriminatory and which deserved adequate measures to be taken.

Discrimination is considered rampant in major organizations. However, an employee has a right not to be treated harshly in reference to age, sex, ethnicity or religion. Harassment that comes in various forms can also be categorized to as discrimination. Employees who feel discriminated upon have a right to make a justifiable claim to the workers’ tribunal and have their cases heard. From this, it is apparent that any form of discrimination is considered unlawful and necessary actions should be taken if the vice is to be wiped out of our institutions and organizations. This is especially against the perpetrators and those trying to give a blind eye to these occurrences.

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