Discrimination in the Contemporary Business Environment

Discrimination in the Contemporary Business Environment

Discrimination seems to have taken the center space in the contemporary business environment as the employees’ output continues to vary. Discrimination describes treating or intending to treat workers unequally based on the personal characteristics protected under Title VII. Title VII Act protects people from being discriminated based on age, color, sex, gender, religion, and political affiliation. Gender discrimination has become the most prevalent form of discrimination practiced by various businesses not just in the United States but across the world. In the United States alone, however, over half a million cases of gender discrimination have been reported. In the majority of these cases, over 80 percent indicate gender discrimination against women in the workplaces. Microsoft is a perfect example of companies that had over 100 complaints about gender discrimination filed against the Human Resource Department between 2010 and 2016. Understanding the impact gender discrimination has on the economic, political, and humanitarian perspective, states and the federal government have enacted anti-discrimination laws. This essay examines gender discrimination as the current business situation, its analysis, areas that can be addressed and offers recommendations.

There have been heightened efforts to seal the gap between the differences in men and women regarding their knowledge, skills, and success in every endeavor. Even with such attempts, the vice of gender discrimination still preoccupies multiple areas in workplaces and other business areas. We still can see many cases where men and women are treated differently either in the job application, selection or promotion. The scenario has been supported by the perception that women cannot do certain jobs because of the nature of their sex. The vice has also picked from the norms, roles, and rules within the American society where men are instructed and encouraged to either value or devalue women. This happens even in the presence of the anti-discrimination laws that discourage these attitudes. Some of the top companies have been in fond to promote gender discrimination which has given the issue a widely rooted problem. They include Microsoft that reported over one hundred complaints about gender discrimination in only six years. Computer Sciences Corporation fired very many female executives when they complained about gender discrimination. Same has happened in Walmart and Quest Diagnostics and AmeriPath among other companies. Therefore, it is evident that the idea of gender discrimination as practiced in the business environment is something that has profound roots in the society we stay.

No specific identified group or sex advances gender discrimination, but both sexes tend to subject women to subtle discrimination. Cases have risen where women are denied promotions and passed to male counterparts just merely because they become pregnant. There is the creation of a perception that once pregnant; women will not discharge duties as expected of her. This, therefore, creates a room for the male applicant or employee with even less qualification to qualify just because he is male. A classic example of gender discrimination is the proverbial “glass ceiling.” This is the unwritten code that holds that it is wrong for women to hold certain senior positions. Women are as well not allowed to advance beyond a certain point because of their gender whether qualified or not. Additionally, there have been cases where women have been judged based on the way they appear and dress in comparison to how the men are perceived. This means there are chances that women would be discriminated against just because they do not look pretty enough. More time off and better rates of compensation for men than for women has been rampant in what can be seen as gender discrimination.

The theory of justice as was developed by John Rawls can best be used in the analysis of gender discrimination as it operates in the business situation. This theory further helps to define the boundaries within which equality can be classified in the workplace. John Rawls’ theory of justice best suits in expressing this scenario based on the various crucial aspects of the theory that can be applied in the business environment to offer a solution to inequality.  Besides the political arena where the majority of the women have been given a secondary role, the same attitude seems to have found its way into the business environment. Thus, gender discrimination is therefore not a new issue but rather can be traced back to the coldest days. However, with the matter having been practiced over the ages, philosophers have not been keen on addressing gender inequality through the theories of justice. Consequently, gender discrimination has widened especially in the contemporary business world where women continue to be subjected to unfair treatment.

John Rawls on his part developed the theory of justice that was first established in 1971 with the intention of advocating justice and liberty to all people in the society. Through this theory, Rawls appears much interested with the social justice that describes how the major social institutions are arranged in the society. The theory of justice as advanced by John Rawls recognizes the multiple ethical issues that come with the contemporary world. This allows the appropriate application of justice in a way that addresses general concepts which consider the proper system of justice in the society. It then demands that all areas that pertain an interaction of many people such as in the business environment where workers interact should be aware of the Rawl’s theory of justice. Understanding this theory of justice encompasses the multiple concepts the theory puts forth.

John Rawls’ theory of justice is a modern philosophy extends its application into the workplace such as in organizations that have employees with diversity characteristics. There has been a recent rise in feminism that advocates for the equality of women when it comes to representation in various sectors such as employment. The Rawls’ theory is, therefore, best suited in the sense that inequality is likely to be experienced in the organizations where the number of women seems to be going up. It is so fascinating that women appear to be occupying the senior positions as their male counterparts a situation likely to bring in biasness based on gender. Since the theory of justice as advanced by John Rawls advocates for an equal right to the great liberty as compared with the rest of the people, all employees need to enjoy the same treatment. In this perspective of equality, Rawls encourages all people to have their equal share as long as their right does not in any way infringe on what others should get.

The extensive prospect of the theory of justice extends into considering the means through which an organization can achieve production and competitive market. It factors in the roles that people play in both production and remaining competitive in the market. All employees irrespective of their gender type will work whole-heartedly if subjected to perceived equal treatment. However, fluctuations and variances will be observed in the situation where male or female workers feel discriminated based on their sex.

In the context of the business environment, Rawls’ theory of justice expresses the need to have equality or fairness in the way the jobs are allocated to workers and the performance. The theory pops into the hole where male and female candidates have been subjected to different hiring processes that have been used to determine their qualification. Rawls’ from what he expresses, both male and women need to be taken through a fair process based on the qualifications to ensure gender discrimination does not arise. The same applies to performance measurement that all employees whether man or woman has a right to undergo a proper appraisal metric to ascertain their achievement. Most organizations promote based on the performance appraisal of the employee. Thus, Rawls’ theory of justice is an accurate measure of the firm towards minimizing discrimination based on gender.


The other theory that can best analyze the workplace gender discrimination is the deontology theory. The deontology theory was founded by Immanuel Kant who from his perception believes that an action done only ethical if such an action is a result of goodwill rather than if founded on selfish intent.     Thus, from what the theory states, people have a moral obligation based on some given rules and principles without considering the outcome of such a moral obligation. In essence, people are obligated to do the right and acceptable thing all the time since such action will only result in a positive outcome even though the outcome is never regarded. Though this theory tends to differ from other theories that prefer the positive outcome of an action, it does encourages actions that are based on uprightness and what is generally accepted. For instance, if a company decides to sack a female executive officer based on her look or denies her chance for promotion. The question that needs to be asked is whether such a decision is morally right or wrong.


In the context of gender discrimination, deontological ethics best apply since every individual has an obligation and the duty to treat every person equally without putting into consideration the outcome. The theory is quite practical if implemented within the business environment for-profit making businesses that tend to treat employees as the means to get their profit. Hence, due to their focus on the profit, businesses disregard the morally acceptable actions and reserve for gender discrimination with the sole intention of having the highest gain. Practically, it is difficult for the business to concentrate on making money at the same time treating employees equally.  As long as the primary goal of business is to make the profit, then the level of discrimination among employees or the customers will be high to meet the targeted benefit. Managers who have these high-profit ambitions will replace women with men since there is a general perception that men will do well in most capacities.

Therefore, from what the theory presents, it is important that when making decisions especially in the case of the workplace, the duties and the rights of all the people are considered. Even though deontologists are aware of the fact that acts have consequences, in applying this theory, effects are disregarded. It is the will of a person considered for an action to be determined as either moral or not. Thus, gender discrimination is often viewed as a wrong thing that goes against the morality of society. It exposes the two different genders as unequal which is likely to make one gender feel inferior and unacceptable. This tells that is dehumanizing to discriminate any gender in the workplace. The theory brings an argument that the rules need to be upheld to ensure that there is a provision of the standard of what is wrong or right. The rules allow the prohibition of gender discrimination as the wrong thing possible since they lay the standards to determine the uprightness.

Both the Rawls theory of Justice and deontology theory presents the legal outlook for gender discrimination in a way that depicts it is a wrong vice if practiced in the business environment. However, Rawls’ theory of justice presents the best legal outlook regarding gender discrimination. The case is so since the theory of justice sets out some principles to ensure that equality and rights are reserved for everyone within the business. The theory gives space for each person and ensures that the rights that belong to a person cannot be tampered with to benefit the other. Instead, each person should have what equally belongs to him or her without making the other party suffer. The theory allocates rights to women in the business set up in a way that they stand with equal chances like men when it comes to job allocation, promotion, and compensation. The same applies to men who should not be demeaned yet they have all it requires to be in the same position as female. I believe this theory presents the best legal outlook since John Rawls examined the entire society and how it serves its people. The theory suggests multiple ways based on liberty and rights that ensure that equality is achieved in society.


In the entirety, the course has addressed multiple areas of law as applied in different business situations in the contemporary world. Part of these areas includes the employment laws, constitutional law, and the contracts. Employment laws are administered and enforced by the Department of Labor where close to 180 federal employment laws are involved. Besides, states and local government have formulated employment laws to regulate the state of employment at the state and local levels. Most of these employment laws in place are meant to protect the employees from the unfair wrath of their employers. These laws tend to prohibit employers from discriminating against the employees based on multiple factors, among the sex or gender.

As gender discrimination continues to hit workplaces, employment laws seem one of the areas of law that can be used to bring the situation to control. Employers tend to have adopted a system where they base on the gender to either hire or promote employees. In a move to counter gender discrimination, there was the passage of employment laws such as Title VII Act and the Equal Pay Act among other laws to combat this issue. The issue is prohibited both at the federal level and the state level.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a law enacted in 1964 with the purpose of ensuring that there is no form of discrimination in the workplace environment. The law identified multiple personal characteristics that should not be used in many areas of employment. These areas include discrimination based on gender or sex and that any form of discrimination that depicts gender-based mistreatment violates Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964. There was another form of employment law called the Equal Pay Act whose intention was to protect men and women whose job performance was substantially equal in the same place but were exposed to the wages and benefits that were gender-based. It means that both man and woman would do the same job, at the same place, equal qualification but women would be paid low wages and benefits. The form of treatment to employees indicated discrimination that was based on gender. Hence, the Equal Pay Act requires that such employees who work at the same level whether woman or man are entitled to equal pay without discrimination. The Civil Rights Act relates to damages in the lawsuit when an employer is found on the wrong side. In cases where someone within the business whether an employee is discriminated against, they are entitled to damages.

The constitutional laws form the second area of laws that the course has examined. The United States is a country that lives and operates within its constitution. It is the supreme source of law, and any other source of law should abide by what the constitution says. However, there is nowhere mentioned women or any limitation of any of the rights provided or such rights only privileged for males. The constitution uses the “person” throughout to sound gender neutral that no sex was preferred over the other. Thus, the constitutional laws provide the bill or rights that identify the rights every person whether woman or man equality in a place including in the business. These constitutional laws have been applied often to overturn some of the laws made at the state, local or even at the organizational levels that appear to discriminate people based on their nature. For instance, the 1938 West Coast Hotel Co. V Parrish case indicted the affirmation of the constitutional law that upheld the minimum wage that had been set by Washington for both genders without discrimination.  The Fourteenth Amendment marked the first significant change in the constitution to improve the rights of women.

The third relevant area of law that can be examined is the contracts law. The contract defines the existing relationship between two parties where they agree about service performance, product provision, or committing an act. Often, contracts are enforceable by law since they are legally binding. Contract law as an area in law forms the crucial part of does not define gender as a factor whether is a business contract or a contract between an employer and an employee. Thus, any person of any gender is at liberty to enter contract regardless of the nature of the contract. The part law ensures that women are not discriminated from contracts where men are allowed to enter long-term contracts while women only allowed to work for some time.

According to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, it was clear that all persons have equal rights to make and the same time enforces contracts irrespective of the gender of the person. The article was obvious on what should be entailed in any form of contract that different genders are involved. Both the parties whether it is a woman or man is entitled to the equal terms and conditions of the agreement. This involves the disclosure of the relevant information. The article further stated that women could not claim unequal treatment to a contract but rather gender discrimination. Though, significant radical changes have been initiated in the way contracts are carried out with the intention of clearing the gender factor playing a role.


Therefore, gender discrimination in business seems to have gained the momentum as many business areas including organizations continue to be hit by gender discrimination. The situation seems to persist even with the high number of the laws in place that aim at combating the menace. More laws seem to be on the way especially at the state and local levels which are struggling with gender discrimination. Indeed, this calls recommendation strategy that will help curb the liability exposure at the same time improve the climate that promotes acceptable and ethical business situation. It is emerging that most cases of gender discrimination seem to be rampant and taking effect at the organizational levels where the ideal implementers of the anti-discrimination laws are found. The implementers include the managers and supervisors for various departments. It then means that if these immediate enforcers of the anti-discrimination laws decide to evade the idea to implement these laws, nothing much will be achieved.

However, there a better way this could be achieved and make it work even in the interior and rural areas. The effort to combat gender discrimination should be taken to the local level in the cities where the majority of the businesses including companies are located. The local authority should come up with the specific laws based on the type of business recommending the least percentage each business should include employee for both genders. There should be a close follow-up to ensure that this rule is adhered to by the respective business to the later. Legally, this will ensure that no particular gender has the highest employees than the other yet all the groups are in a position to perform the duties. Ethically, the standard ratio interaction between men and women would make it possible for both genders to quickly fit each other and learn from each other with ease. For the part of the business, it would be in a better position to have high-level production since businesses require all knowledge and skills to excel.

Conclusively, we can admit that evidence indicates the presence of discrimination in the business that is based on multiple personal characteristics. One most prevalent form of discrimination is the gender-based discrimination that involving unequal treatment of people based on sex. Various cases from numerous reports show that the most prominent companies such as Microsoft are indeed leading in gender discrimination. The issue seems to be an old-time problem that has not yet been solved despite numerous laws such as Title VII Act of 1964 among others. Rawls’ theory of justice and deontology theory are the best-suited theories that can analyze gender discrimination. However, amidst this continues to increase in gender discrimination, various areas of law including constitutional law, contract, and employment law seem to be determined to solve the issue.

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