Diversity in the Workplace and the Legislation Behind It
Diversity in the Workplace is a people issue, which focuses on the similarities and differences between people in an organization. Diversity in the workplace is typically defined largely to include different aspects beyond those legally specified in affirmative action non-discrimination statutes and equal opportunity.
Because of many pieces of legislation on the federal and state level, discrimination is illegal in workplaces equal opportunity laws make discrimination in workplaces illegal. These laws discuss the rights along with the responsibilities of both employers as well as employees in the workplace, making both of them accountable.
Diversity in the workplace is most often explained to include different aspects that influence an individual’s identity and point of view, such as education, parental status, profession, and geographic location. It also includes cultural diversity that creates a unique identity, which includes race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and ethnicity.
Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits
Diversity can be beneficial in the workplace both to the employees along with the organization. It allows for better problem solving and decision making, more innovation and creativity, and more success in marketing and product development. Being able to recognize and accept diverse people allow people to feel included and can motivate them to work harder in their environment.
Not only does diversity help prevent and discrimination while improving the equality of the workplace, but it also helps develop an appreciation for differences in values and ideas.
Diversity in the Workplace: Challenges
While diversity has its benefits in the workplace, there are also some challenges that come along with it as well:
• Language or cultural barriers as well as different perspectives can sometimes lead to ineffective communication which can result in a lack of team work as well as confusion and low workplace morale.
• Some employees may refuse to accept different cultural and social diversity in the workplace and may be unwilling to go along with the changes, which can inhibit creativity and progress.
• The diversity placed in the workplace must be customized to the particular environment for the greatest chance of success in the organization.
Legislation that Promotes Diversity in the Workplace
• Title VII Civil Rights Act (1964)
• Pregnancy Discrimination Act
• Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
• ADA Amendments Act
• Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1969)
• Equal Pay Act (1963)
• Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
• Civil Rights Act (1991)
• Rehabilitation Act (1973)
• Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (2008)
Many state and local governments have also enacted different equal employment measures, for example those that forbid discrimination due to on sexual orientation. Furthermore, employers cannot fire, harass, demote, or otherwise retaliate against an employee for a discrimination charge, opposing discrimination, or acting in a discrimination proceeding. This is to cover victims and those who take action against discrimination