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Weekly Debate Topic on Diversity Issues in the Workplace
This Weeks Diversity Issue: Respect in The Workplace
WEEKLY DEBATES: common misconception is that the phrase “workplace diversity” defines meeting certain quotas in employee race or gender categories. In fact, “diversity” as it relates to human resources is a way of thinking and operating that encourages an entirely new and positive outlook among coworkers. Diversity in the work environment promotes acceptance, respect and teamwork. Companies that overcome certain diversity issues often achieve greater productivity, profit and company morale.
For this Course, we will Debate 10 Diversity Issues in the Workplace. When debating these issues:
1. Use examples of unethical behavior observed in workplace diversity. Your evidence must provide at least 3 references to support your findings, and be written in your own words. You may include something you experienced as an employee or a customer or something you observed informally along with details.
- You should give three reasons you think the behavior was unethical. For example, what rules or norms were broken?
- Who benefited or was harmed by what took place?
- What was the outcome for the people involved?
- What steps might you take to prevent such unethical behavior and encourage people to behave in an ethical way?
This Weeks Diversity Issue: Respect in The Workplace
The key component in achieving a favorably diversified workplace is establishing teamwork and mutual respect among staff members. Acceptance of individual differences is essential in creating a copacetic and productive work environment. Acceptance leads to respect, and ultimately opportunity.
Workplace bullying is a health hazard
Workplace bullying is behaviour, often repeated, by one or more employees, that humiliates, victimizes, undermines or threatens another employee or employees, and thereby creates a work related risk to personal health or safety.
The following types of behaviour (not an exhaustive list), usually but not always occurring as part of a pattern, may be considered bullying –
- verbal abuse, offensive language and inappropriate or insulting comments
- excluding or isolating employees
- under work, and assigning meaningless tasks unrelated to the job
- overwork, giving employees impossible assignments
- undermining work performance, deliberately withholding information that is necessary for effective work performance, supplying incorrect information or inadequate training
- deliberately changing work rosters to inconvenience particular employees
- constant intensive surveillance or monitoring
- constant and unjustified criticism of a worker’s performance or abilities
- imposing restrictive and petty work rules
- unreasonable administrative sanctions, such as undue delay in processing applications for training, leave or payment of wages
- giving workers no say about how the job is done
- open or implied threats of sack or disciplinary action
Case 1: Divide and rule
Jan was a Community Services Caseworker who had been newly employed in a suburban Community Services office. Prior to obtaining tertiary qualifications for this work, she had had a number of jobs in a variety of industries. She was also happily married with two children.
Her supervisor Wendy was very helpful to her for the first 6 months of her employment, and commended her on several occasions for her work. She also had very good relations with other staff members, although Wendy had told her just after she started work to have as little as possible to do with two Caseworkers, Margaret and Colin, because they were ‘troublemakers’.
Some 8 months after she started work, Wendy gave Jan a file concerning a Department client. Wendy explained that she had been dealing with the client for several months, but wanted Jan to get some additional experience by dealing with the client.
Jan went through the file, and the file notes prepared by Wendy. When she read the file, and the notes, it became clear to her that Wendy had not followed proper Department procedures in dealing with this client. This was confirmed when she met with the client a week later.
After giving the issue some thought, she believed that the best way of dealing with the issue was to express her concerns to Wendy with the view of clearing any possible misunderstandings she may have made about the file contents and notes. Wendy’s reaction to Jan’s concerns was extremely cool, and Wendy demanded the return of the file.
In the following weeks Jan’s appearance, dress, and work performance became the subject for criticism by Wendy. Her workmates, with the exception of Margaret and Colin, also became nervous when Wendy saw them talking to her.
In the end, Jan approached Margaret and Colin who revealed that they had been though a similar experience with Wendy, but were not sure how to handle Wendy, as she could become extremely abusive if she did not get her own way.
Jan spoke to her union organizer about the issue, who suggested that at the next union workplace meeting that she would raise the issue with members. The organizer advised that Wendy was not a member so members should be able to speak freely about the issue. To facilitate this, the meeting notice and agenda included the item ‘workplace bullying’.
The union meeting’s time was dominated by discussion on this issue, with 20 members in attendance and 6 other staff who turned up to the meeting and signed membership forms.
Without naming Wendy, Jan, Margaret and Colin and four other Caseworker members recounted similar experiences. This prompted four clerical support staff to recount their experiences. Three of these members informed the meeting that they had been receiving medical treatment as a result of their treatment at work.
The meeting passed several resolutions in relation to workplace bullying, which were to be passed on to workplace and regional management.
The resolutions identified workplace bullying as a occupational health and safety issue, and unacceptable behaviour that would no longer be tolerated by the union members; that all future incidents of workplace bullying by any person would be recorded and provided to the union; that all members would sign a petition which would be given to both local and regional management advising that in future no member would attend a face to face meeting with management unless they were accompanied by a the workplace delegate; that the union take action on behalf of any member whose health had been affected by workplace bullying.
The union also provided a number of posters on workplace bullying, which were displayed in the workplace.
In the two weeks following the union meeting, some of the posters would disappear overnight, but the union delegate replaced these the following day. After this time the posters were not touched. Wendy also made it a point not to meet or talk with union members.
Within six weeks Wendy was transferred to a policy position at Regional Office. The position did not involve supervising staff. There is no more bullying experienced at this workplace.
Diversity Issues Retrieved from United Education for Labor Education https://uale.org/