Racial Discrimination In The Workplace

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Racial discrimination is a problem that is bound to affect an organization or global employee of the world at least once in their career lifetime. With changing trends and high employee movements between countries, employees of different races, nationalities and religions are expected to gel well with each other wherever they work. This doesn’t always mean that things work for the better.

Sometimes, due to religious tensions between certain religions, employees with well meaning goals may not want to get along with each other purely due to historic differences. For instance, it’s a common stand in history that Hindus and Muslims have had a long running conflict since ages. So its quite normal in an international organization for employees of these two religions to have cold wars, spats and conflicts when it comes to work.

Racial discrimination between people of different cultures and nationalities is a very natural phenomenon and one that is bound to affect everyone at some point of time.

Just like the saying that blood is thicker than water holds great value when it comes to family ties, similar connotations can be drawn for people belonging to a particular race.

This is not as much a problem as it is a bitter truth. Humans are bound to feel a sense of belonging and fondness for their own people and races by default and expecting them to tide above it is unnatural. The problem lies in the way the matter is dealt. Its not about expecting people to like every race, it’s about creating a sense of oneness amongst all.

If, we lived in a world where people were the same color everywhere, spoke the same language and looked the same, there would never be any racial related problems. But when we live in a place that has a myriad group of colored individuals speaking various languages, its difficult to maintain discrimination free work ethics and codes.

Global companies and employees who travel to other nations for work are the ones who generally face this problem. An Indian in an American run enterprise would have to work very hard to be fully integrated into his team. Differences in food habits, values, lifestyles create a barrier among people. Furthermore, if a non native national is doing extremely well at his workplace and climbing the corporate ladder faster than his native counter parts, there is bound to be some discrimination that’s then blamed on his race.

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Most companies ignore the problems unless there is a very serious consequence of racial discrimination. The employee is left to target his own problems and find solutions for it.

What can help avoid these problems at the workplace is putting down stricter laws and rules. HR departments should evaluate how many employees belong to other nationalities and promote cultural programs promoting the essence of different nationalities and cultures. If employees are shown that people of other races have so much to offer and can be a great addition to the overall development of the workforce, employees may want to make them welcome and accept them quicker.
The onus is basically on the organization to build goodwill among employees.

Moreover, an additional way to subdue the effects or rather the causes of racial discrimination is by having employee exchange problems. If you have one European employee and 50 American ones, get the Americans to travel to their company’s European offices to see how similar work environments can be.

Also, promoting a sense of “company comes first” should be inculcated in the organization. Induction programs should include telling employees that no matter what they do and how they interact with others, the company’s aims and goals should always be first on their list of priorities. Let employees feel like their working for a professional company and one that doesn’t allow room for racial problems to surface. ‘

Racial discrimination at the work place is a relatively sensitive issue to target. The company cannot take sides; decisions have to be neutral and employee friendly. Keeping or framing a hand book can act as a constant reminder of how serious the problem could turn out to be if employees were to be weak enough to fall prey to these acts.

Global companies can bridge the gap by having a mixed culture work environment and employee count. Sometimes maybe Greece day or Indian day could be celebrated where in employees of those particular countries host a special day or program for the office. Creating an interest on various world cultures can help people to keep an open mindset with regards to employees from other races.

The problem of racial discrimination is not a new problem and it definitely isn’t one that’s going to phase out any time soon. People will be subject to it and the only way to overcome its effects is to create a discrimination free work environment.