Discrimination of Women and Immigrants at the Workplace

Discrimination of Women and Immigrants at the Workplace


Discrimination of Women and Immigrants at the Workplace has been a major issue for many years in different parts of the world including the American countries. Immigration has also increased as time goes by since people are always looking for new and greener pastures. Nevertheless, workplace equality is yet to be achieved more so within North America although several attempts have been made to come up with laws that would help in doing so. Racial minorities, immigrants, and women are the groups that are affected the most by workplace discrimination. The concern of policymakers and researchers has been raised by the increasing unemployment rate among minority groups that include African Americans and women.

Nevertheless, vital details that relate to the minority groups and women’s fate at the workplace have been ignored by these policies and researches. For instance, several social and institutional factors still challenge the results of African Americans and women at their workplaces. Minority groups that include black women face interpersonal prejudice and institutional discrimination (Collins 56). This can be attributed to the fact that women usually suffer due to poor working environments, exclusion from decision-making, and unsuitable tasks. The aim of this study is to identify various ways that can be used by African Americans, women, and other minority groups in fighting workplace discrimination (Flores-Gonzalez 45). This paper aims at achieving this by discussing two cases of workplace discrimination.

Case A: Gender Workplace Discrimination

Novartis, which is a pharmaceutical company, was sued by 12 women in the US for offenses of gender discrimination (Factsheet: North America 4). The women were sales employees who went to court on the basis of lower pay that they received as well as promotional discrimination. The New York jury maintained the allegations while awarding punitive damages that amounted to $250 million to these women. They were also awarded compensatory damages amounting to $34 million. The court ordered the company to channel $ 22.5 million to policies and institute programs that would enhance workplace equality (Factsheet: North America 5).

Pay Discrimination

This second case is an introduction to gender discrimination where women are the victims. Two instructors have the same job description. This means that their compensation terms should also be the same. Compensating one person differently is unfair. This case presents an image of the report of job discrimination that women face. The pay structures world over vary between females and males with females always receiving lower pays. Nevertheless, there are countries that have come up with laws that ensure equal compensation. However, many employers never follow these laws. According to research, there are legislations for authorizing equal pay in 117 countries (Factsheet: North America 1). There is also evidence to prove those female workers are paid 30 to 20% lower than male workers in these countries. According to Factsheet report (1), the pay gap in North America indicates a difference of 23 to 28% between male workers and female workers in all sectors.

Unequal Employment Opportunities

Women get less consideration in most job opportunities. There are times when workplace opportunities are not given to women because of expected pregnancy or pregnancy. These opportunities go to men with fewer qualifications simply because they are men. Although women have faced employment discrimination, there are statistics that indicate that African American females, immigrants, as well as other minority groups, have also faced the same challenge. As stated, most countries have civil rights whose goal is to ensure that there are equal job opportunities and pay.

Nevertheless, women have continued to face discrimination when it comes to payments and job opportunities. There are studies that show that men’s representation in the job market is higher than that of women. This is an issue that needs equal answers. This continues to be the case despite the fact that women have educational qualifications in different specialties. As indicated, women of African American origin are exposed the most when it comes to employment than white women. Studies show that there is almost double the rate of unemployment among African American and immigrant women when compared to that of white women. Women of African American origin are affected by occupational bias as indicated by their inability when it comes to securing white-color jobs as compared to white women.

Workplace Prejudice

The case of workplace prejudice serves as an example of the prejudice that women face at the workplace. The 12 sales representatives were females. They faced workplace discrimination because they were given lower salaries. They were also not promoted. This case indicates employers’ discrimination against women. It ought to be noted that employees whose origin or race differ are also involved in the other cases. Research indicates that immigrant, African American, and minority women are exposed to prejudice at the workplace than white women. The majority of the minority groups’ women face prejudice on the basis of the racial attitude that the whites have towards them. This makes these women uncomfortable at the workplace. The majority of these cases are in form of different discriminatory behavior and languages. For instance, black nurses in a healthcare setting face discriminatory prejudice from the patients and the management. This behavior causes inefficiency when it comes to service delivery (Vernez 54).

Case B: Racial Minority Discrimination

An African American called John is an administrative assistant within a company. He discovered that his pay was lower than that of an office manager despite performing similar duties. He opts to file a case since he thought that they should be paid equally going by their job description. After an investigation, it was established that the job descriptions for office management and administrative assistant dockets are different. Therefore, the possibility of receiving equal salaries was ruled out. Nevertheless, the investigators established that all African American employees in the company were given positions that had lower pay such as clerical and secretarial positions. After interviewing all employees of the racial minority groups, it was established that these employees were not given promotional chances that would allow them to take higher positions that would earn them better pay (Keen and Michael 34).

On asking the employers about this, they said that the racial minorities lack qualifications that are required for the higher positions. They argued that there are no qualified applicants from minority groups who apply for such opportunities. This was an untrue answer because the investigators found out that there were qualified minorities such as John who applied for different positions but they were unsuccessful. The results of this investigation showed that the employers and the management pushed the racial minorities lower in order to deny them better pay and promotions.

Reporting of Discrimination

John chose to report this case when he suspected that he was receiving lower pay than a manager who he thought had a job description similar to his. His opinion was later proven untrue. Nevertheless, the investigation unearths more shocking revelations in terms of employees’ recruitment and job promotions within the company. These findings indicate that qualified minorities are always denied jobs by the employer on the basis of being unqualified. This case presents a problem that indicates that racial minorities receive unfair treatment in North America only that they are not reported. About 46 percent of the African American employees prefer not to report the discrimination that they face at their workplaces.

There are different reasons why these people opt not to report discrimination cases. To some, reporting discrimination may not be helpful in achieving anything because nothing will be done against their employers. There is also another group that does not report discrimination because it fears that it will be considered troublemakers. Some fear reporting because they do not want to lose their jobs. Due to these reasons, most discrimination cases are not reported because the affected persons feel that discrimination is a problem that can be experienced in any workplace. There are also those who feel that losing a job would affect them financially. In Case A, 12 saleswomen might have stayed longer within the company because they feared losing the job that was their income source. Nevertheless, they went further to file a lawsuit against their employer.

Lack of Recognition

These cases indicate how racial discrimination against minorities occurs. The investigation of the company that John worked for indicates that the African American employees and other members of the minority groups were deliberately given job positions with lower pay. This was proven by a study that established that all lower secretarial, administrative, and clerical positions were held by the minorities. Well-paying positions are easily given to the whites in the company. Racial discrimination cases that African Americans face are usually unreported in North America.

The belief of most people is that their job opportunities are always dictated by their origin. Most immigrants who are in employments affirm that although they have the necessary academic qualifications, getting jobs that pay well is not easy. Similarly, the belief of most immigrants is that there is a role that is played by their backgrounds when it comes to their firing or hiring at some point of their work lives. Closely connected to Case A, is the fact that women feel like they are unimportant to the company due to discrimination. They chose to report their case because they are not recognized and therefore they cannot be promoted to better paying or higher positions.

Lack of promotion

Employers in the company that John worked for said that there were no positions for the racial minorities because they had an inadequate qualifications. This was proven wrong by the investigation. There are records that indicate that qualified minority applicants have been unsuccessful in the past because promotions are a preserve for white employees only. Most immigrants have filed reports that indicate that job promotions are affected by their different backgrounds. It should be noted that employees remain at positions that do not have an influence on the company when they are not promoted. As such, discriminated employees are unable to participate in the process of making decisions for the company. Essentially, African Americans and immigrant workers as well as other minority groups feel unappreciated. It is the right of every employee to get a fair promotion. Failure to promote employees can imply discrimination at the workplace. Clearly, Case A indicates that the employees were not promoted and this led to a lawsuit that was filed against the employer.


The cases presented above indicate workplace discrimination experiences. These cases are on the rise. As such, it is important to find appropriate means of fighting this vice. The rules, roles, and norms of society should be considered when facing this problem because these are the main pillars that define discrimination more so against women. Regardless of the existing anti-discrimination law, vices similar to the one discussed above are witnessed in countries like the United States and Canada. These cases indicate some means that can be used in fighting this vice.

The 12 salespersons in Case A chose to file a lawsuit against discrimination in terms of low pay as well as the failure by the employer to promote them. Case B indicates that John reported the problem and this led to the investigation which unearthed the discrimination that the minorities were facing in the firm. The findings of this investigation can be helpful to those affected, private institutions and governments in fighting this problem.


Evidently, the attention of the minority groups has been focused on enhancing workplace participation while disregarding the issues that relate to their rights and voice. Most activism efforts focus on enhancing diversity more so women’s participation in different professions (Vernez 54). Nevertheless, minority groups that include women are still facing challenges and problems which affect their productivity and performance at the workplace. Their services are hired by most organizations as a way of conforming to different regulations that relate to employment procedures. The participation and fate of minority groups are not considered by the organizations after hiring them.

Communication is one of the means that African Americans and women can use in fighting for equal rights at the workplace. Communication can enable them to express their concerns regarding workplace prejudice and discrimination to the concerned authorities. Nevertheless, they ought to start by improving how they relate with management officers who hold higher positions in the organization. This way, prejudice will be eliminated and their participation will also improve. Challenges that most minority groups that include women and African Americans face such as low-quality jobs and poor pays among others are caused by lack of or poor communication. Cultural values and artifacts are the tools that can be used by minority groups to fight for equal rights at the workplace (Keen and Michael 34). Minority groups’ history indicates that they possess a strong perseverance quality and goals motivate them. This ought to empower and encourage them when it comes to expressing personal opinions/views.

Minority groups can also establish support groups that will fight for equal rights. Nevertheless, these groups ought to shift attention from struggling to achieve diversity to enhancing workplace participation. Different needs of the members are harmonized by the support groups and this helps in enhancing the avenues that increase awareness. Usually, most people encounter bias as well as other types of discrimination due to their failure to use appropriate channels in expressing themselves (Gregory 45). Minority groups lack authority and credibility at the workplace because they do not communicate or express themselves. However, organizations ought to promote policies and strategies that will assist minorities in fighting for equal rights. The emerging corporate trends that include globalization require organizations to treasure employees without considering their gender, social status, or race.

Works Cited

Collins, Catherine F. Sources of Stress and Relief for African American Women. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2003. Print.

Factsheet: North America, 2010-2012.

Flores-González, Nilda. Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Age. University of Illinois Press, 2013. Internet resource.

Gregory, Raymond F. Women and Workplace Discrimination: Overcoming Barriers to Gender Equality. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2003. Print.

Keen, Christine D, and Michael R. Losey. Emerging Issues in Human Resources: Looking at the Workplace of Tomorrow Today. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2004. Print.

Vernez, Georges. Immigrant Women in the U.S. Workforce: Who Struggles? Who Succeeds? Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, 2009. Print.