BUSA+Equal+Opporuntity+in+Employment+(21) - Equal...

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Equal Opportunity in Employment EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN EMPLOYMENT Why is discrimination wrong? I. Overview No single American legal issue is inflamed with more controversy than discrimination in the workplace. The genesis of our nation's heritage is rooted in a diversity of peoples who immigrated to the New World in order to flee the royalist, class, or caste systems that so often predestined their opportunities for social and economic advancement. The U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the government founded on it, was the first major system of self-governance premised on the assumption that all persons are born equal and should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. As we all know, that equality has often been a hope rather than a reality for many. The same diversity that has been a source of national pride has also been the basis of disparate treatment of persons in the workplace for many years. The term discriminate has within it two distinct and opposite meanings. On the positive side, discrimination is simply a fact of life. We are not all equal in all ways. We have different talents, strengths, levels of training, and abilities. Employers, in turn, should be allowed and expected to seek utilization of these divergent talents and strengths in their own best interests. To discriminate in the positive sense is to reward ability and merit. The positive aspect of discrimination really says that uniqueness should be discerned, differentiated, distinguished, and rewarded in the workplace. In the end, economic marketplace factors are blind to any other factors but job performance. Like it or not, positive discrimination is a simple economic necessity which is no different than the laws of nature and cannot be ignored. The negative side of discrimination is found in a wrongful process of selection. For a society founded on a premise of equality, we have certainly had more than our share of unequal treatment in the workplace. The negative side of discrimination is inequality of treatment based on wrongful motive, justifications, or rationalizations. Each choice not based on talent, ability, and merit is a step away from the inherent basis of equality before the law. Wrongful discrimination is like cancer. If it is allowed to grow unchecked, it will kill. None of us can afford to look the other way and say: "It's not my problem." Wrongful discrimination against any group is a wrong upon the society at large. Most everyone appreciates that fact intuitively, if not intellectually. Why is discrimination wrong? Yes it is unfair, but in an economic sense it may force us to avoid hiring the best person for the job. This is why businesses must avoid unfair discrimination. It is difficult to legislate fairness but it has been clear that something must help if diversity is to be
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course BUSA 2106 taught by Professor Lee during the Summer '07 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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BUSA+Equal+Opporuntity+in+Employment+(21) - Equal...

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