Guide on How to Write University Essays, Courseworks, Assignments and Dissertations

A birds eye view into discrimination

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Discrimination is defined as “unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice”. (WordWeb, 2007). In a broader discrimination also means to identify qualities and differences of a particular thing or person which in turn determines making a choice based on those qualities. (Wikipedia, 2007).  Discrimination may be direct or indirect.


Direct Discrimination: When a person is subjected to lesser favouritism or is treated less favourably than the other in an identical situation because of their racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation; then discrimination can be said to occur. To further explain this, let us take an example of a job advertisement in a newspaper which reads “Disabled people may not apply”. This can be explained as direct discrimination which takes place more explicitly.


Other examples of direct discrimination may include a retailer who rejects qualified people for the post of a job assistant, either due to their ethnic or racial origin. Similarly, a hotel manager can be said to be guilty of discrimination if he/she refuses admittance of a particular sect/community (e.g. gypsies).


More often however, discrimination may take occur in a subtle form. This is referred to as indirect discrimination. This can be better explained as “Indirect discrimination occurs when an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would disadvantage people on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation unless the practice can be objectively justified by a legitimate aim”. (Stop-discrimination, 2007).


A simple example of indirect indiscrimination can be a job test which requires people to sit a test in a particular language. That language may not be necessary for the job and yet a certain group of people need to sit for that language test. A certain group may be completely excluded to sit for the language test.  This is described as indirect discrimination, which is more implicit and subtle in nature. This can be further exemplified as a company who is hiring translators and imposes the condition that the applicant needs to hold a valid driver’s license (as the potential employee may be required to travel to deliver work). This implicitly bars the disabled people from applying for that particular job and the company can be said to be effectively discriminating against this particular group of people. Another pertinent and strong example may include a retail or departmental store which bars people to wear hats or any kind of headdress while serving customers. This in effect is indirect discrimination against Muslim women whose religious beliefs require them to wear a headdress most of the time.


Factors like age, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion lead to discriminatory attitudes and practices. Organizations and companies can in fact enhance their overall performance and management if discrimination can be tackled effectively especially at workplace. Laws today prohibit discrimination, harassment and victimization of employees.


After having recognized discrimination, it is the duty of the manager or employers to support the victims by helping them seek legal advice, provide emotional support as well as help them confront the perpetrator and with effective arbitration, discrimination can be tackled and resolved. This however, requires team effort.



Stop Discrimination, EU Policy (2007) “What does discrimination mean”

Available from:

Accessed: 10/26/2007


Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia (2007) “Discrimination”

Available from:

Accessed: 10/26/2007

C/HR/193. The problem of discriminatory employment in TEXACO and its solution through the cultural change programme

S/HR/173. Critical Analysis of the Existence of Age Discrimination in Workplace

S/HR/165. Equal opportunities codes of practice are intended to ensure that organisations comply with the requirements of anti-discrimination legislation. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this approach

S/L/154. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the 'business case' argument that could be made to persuade employers of the benefits of a diverse workforce in terms of age. In light of this how would you assess the UK government's forthcoming anti-age discrimination legislation?

C/HR/144. To what extent can equal opportunities legislation improve the recruitment process within an organisation?

S/HR/127. Managing Diversity and promoting Equal Opportunity

E/HR/78. If women make for better leaders in contemporary western organisations, why are there so few of them?

C/HR/126. Glass Ceiling- A Dilemma in Diversity Management

E/HR/68. Effects of Age Discrimination legislation

C/HR/73. Discrimination against men

S/HR/130. Discrimination of women employees in Wal-Mart

S/HR/128. Qualifications and careers: Equal opportunities and earnings among graduates

C/B/303. Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: Theory and Practice

P/HR/97. Sex Discrimination in the Workforce

P/HR/43. Glass Ceiling

P/HR/118. Dissertation. Glass Ceiling

E/HR/45. Gender discrimination in workplace

C/HR/77. Anti-Discrimination Legislation: An Effective or Problematic Tool for Diversity Management.

P/HR/299. Ethical issues of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

P/HR/310. Unlawful and lawful discrimination

S/HR/83. Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the equal treatment in employment and occupation

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