Issues with Resilience Emerging from Discrimination in the Workplace

Table of contents

Area of Resilience

The area of resilience is resilience from discrimination in the workplace, and more specifically, it is the discrimination of race, gender and mental illnesses. One of the most profound issues of resilience from discrimination in the workplace is that employees can be hurt and damaged mentally and emotionally, decreasing their work ethic and overall productivity. These problems can be especially common due to the prevalence of stereotypes, prejudice, and the overarching view of certain individuals being seen as either “abnormal” or “not like everybody else.” In this sense, people labeled as these terms are often distraught because these labels are most likely out of their control, especially since they are born in such a way that they simply cannot change who they inherently are.

Target Population

The intervention is designed for employees who are essentially unethical in their overall treatment of either their superiors, co-workers, or subordinates based on factors such as race, gender, or mental health. The intervention’s main purpose is to ensure the impediment of bias in views towards specific types of people in the workplace due to what society views them as rather than conjecturing an understanding of a worker based on their personality and other vital characteristics.

Criteria for Participants

Those who are eager to participate in this intervention should be workers who have ever felt that they have been mistreated in any way, shape, or form in the workplace. Particularly, those who have faced issues in the past or are currently with experiencing racial, gender or mental health discrimination from co-workers should engage in this intervention. Additionally, employees who have been the perpetrator of this inequitable prejudice and discrimination towards individuals with these traits should also take part in this intervention so that they can understand why their views or actions are truly not justified.

Rationale for Intervention

Individuals with chronic psychological disorders are often discriminated against in the employment process. Although people with chronic psychological disorders are willing and able to work, they are not hired at the same rate as their unaffected counterparts. According to Teresa Scheid, author of Behavioral Sciences & the Law: “Surveys of US employers show that half of them are reluctant to hire someone with past psychiatric history or currently undergoing treatment for depression, and approximately 70% are reluctant to hire someone with a history of substance abuse or someone currently taking antipsychotic medication.”

A major issue that contributes to the high rate of discrimination of mentally ill individuals in the workplace is stigma. The stigma of psychiatric conditions prevents employers from hiring those who have a past mental health record. The terms “mentally ill” and “disabled” are two of the most stigmatizing phrases used to describe those with psychiatric conditions. The stigma contributes to the unwillingness of employers to look beyond the label placed on those who may struggle with these conditions. Studies show that, “Stigmatized individuals in fact earned less income and were unemployed for greater periods of time.”

On the other hand, to first begin looking at discrimination between men and women in the workplace, one must first examine how far women have come in history. Women weren’t able to start working until they obtained the right to vote. After making that headway, women were able to push for educational rights and subsequently working rights. In the present, it is more common to see women work, yet discrimination and stereotyping lingers as they would have in earlier centuries (had they been given the “right” to work).

Women “… are regarded as the nicer, kinder sex, [and] have a cultural stereotype that is in general more positive than that of men, yet women often are victims of prejudice” (Heilman 393). Although people respect women and believe they can do great things, such as giving birth, they are not expected to be able to do jobs that require hard labor or to hold executive positions and occupations. The main difference between a man and a women is their genitals and what they offer during the process of reproduction, yet women are looked at as if they cannot do the same work a man does. Which leads one to wonder, why are women viewed as inferior to men?

Women are often associated with very feminine attributes, “…including the positive communal qualities of warmth and niceness…” (Heilman 394), that are believed to only be beneficial when applied to homemaking and motherhood. “Female stereotypical attributes, tend to be inconsistent with the attributes believed to be required for success in many key organizational positions” (Heilman 394).

Although people hire women to work for their companies or organizations, they do not always place those women in highly ranked positions (especially if it is a male dominated field like investment banking) because hiring managers and/or company owners believe that a man can get the job done better. They believe this because men are supposed to be more level headed and able to think rationally in tough situations. Women are believed to think with their hearts and emotions rather than their brains.

Altogether, men are viewed as more professional while women are not. The only time women are preferred for leadership roles are “… in female sex-typed jobs (e.g., secretary, director of a day care center)…” (Heilman 395). Although it is the 20th century, women are still expected to do domesticated jobs and to be subservient to men. What determines if a woman gets a job or how they are treated at that job is not the fact that they are a woman but what people believe all women are like.

“Both laboratory and field findings are highly supportive of the idea that sex bias in evaluations of women arise not from their sex but from the perceived mismatch between their inferred female attributes and the requirements of male gender typed jobs” (Heilman 395). To fix this issue, people need to learn that just because someone is a women doesn’t mean they let emotions rule their lives. Women can be business forward and care more for a career than creating a family, just like men, so there is no reason to treat them differently.

America is supposed to be a country that upholds principles of freedom and equal opportunities. Ideas like these are why immigrants from all over the world fled their own countries to come here; however, the land of the free and equal might not be that equal after all. There exist infinite types of discrimination such as gender discrimination, disability discrimination, religious discrimination, and most notably, racial discrimination.

Racial discrimination is defined as the treatment of someone of different color differently than you would of your own kind. This form of discrimination can be seen in the college application process, job selections, apartment hunting, and much more. The question of whether employers prefer a specific race of workers in their business has been a prominent problem in society recently.

In “Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment”, a group of researchers performed a series of studies to determine whether or not race played in a role in whether or not employers hired certain recent college graduates. In one study, 9400 fake resumés were generated and were submitted to hiring employers.

These fake applicants all graduated the same time and each had a Bachelor’s degree. Work history, work experience, and internships were accounted for by randomizing them to fit certain conditions so that not one individual would stand out. This study showed that “black- named job seekers are approximately 14% less likely to receive interview requests than applicants with white-sounding names” (Nunley 1095). More studies were later done to further examine the racial discrimination in hiring employees.

Bertrand and Mullainathan did a study in which they used racially distinct names to stand out to the hiring employers and the result of that study was that “black applicants receive about 50% fewer callbacks/interviews than their white counterparts” (Nunley 1098). These two studies alone can generate an overall statement that employers favor other races over blacks. Many more studies were done regarding the disparity between races when it comes to employment.

The studies show that when it comes to jobs that require more customer interaction, employers seemed to lean towards hiring races other than blacks more. There was a difference of about 28% when it came to these jobs. The more a job required communication with customers and clients, the bigger the gap was between hiring blacks and non-black job applicants. These studies clearly show racial discrimination in workplace and how prevalent the problem is.

Describe the Intervention

In order to prevent discrimination in the employment process and within the workplace, we intend to implement a series of training programs all employees must complete. These training programs will vary based on the nature of the field individuals are working in. Human resources managers and directors will undergo the most rigorous training programs. These training programs will happen monthly and will discuss ethical hiring procedures and compliance with laws regarding discrimination, such as Title 7.

These training programs will include two-hour long courses such as how racial, gender, and mental health discrimination affects the overall dynamic of the workplace and how workers in the past have gotten past these struggles and hindrances. In doing this, we hope to alleviate the stresses that employees face, whether they themselves are discriminated against or are concerned for their co-workers.

Since higher level positions will be trained more intensively, employees on lower levels will feel more protected and less shameful. Also, since those in power are non-corrupt or biased, it will improve the efficiency of any particular company, by hiring workers for the good of the company itself, and not just its executive members.

Obstacles to Implementation

Obstacles for enacting this intervention include frustrating recently hired workers, the unappealing lengthening of the time of the hiring process, and allocating funds, resources, and jobs towards creating these programs. Although the implementation of programs to remove unwanted discrimination in the workplace could be effective, it can also frustrate recently hired workers. Workers may have just came out of four or more years of college, and now they have to go through more education processes, so they may be more reluctant to join a particular firm or company that participates in these programs.

Also, the unattractiveness of these programs is especially relevant to huge companies that are devoted to making quick decisions and efficient time management. If this program can take up to a week, then a week of worker productivity is lost every time somebody new is hired. Therefore, there would be less flow of jobs on the global market if these programs were implemented on an enormous scale. Finally, creating these programs would be costly in terms of capital and investments. For example, more people would have to be hired to teach the training programs, separate classrooms would have to be used, and more money would have to be taken from the paychecks of other employees in order to fund these programs.


Placing unjust attributes on individuals based on anything other than work ethic and qualification for a job is morally wrong. Whether bias is geared towards men as opposed to women, mentally healthy as opposed to mentally ill, or homosexual rather than heterosexual, formulating assumptions about an individual based on a wrongful general supposition is unacceptable if a particular firm or company is devoted to creating an optimal working environment. Men are no greater than women when it comes to the workforce. Both can carry out executive positions, and both can achieve greatness by being given equal, unbiased opportunities.

Similarly, race should never play a role in determining the adequacy of an employee in the workplace. If anything, it should add to the overall diversity of an establishment, which can lead to increased worker dynamicity, happiness, and productivity. The same goes for individuals who have chronic mental illnesses. While they may be unsuitable for some jobs due to a lack of qualification, it is still immoral to view them as “totally incapable,” and other aspects such as their personality can be incorporated beneficially into an organization. Essentially, all people have their own unique contribution to the workplace, and by working together, no matter whom the constituents, if all are determined, enthusiastic, devoted, and indefatigable, then any endeavor is possible.

Works Cited

  1. Heilman, Madeline E. and Alice H. Eagly. “Gender Stereotypes Are Alive, Well, and Busy Producing Workplace Discrimination”; Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 1 (2008), 393-398. Web.
  2. Nunley, John M., Adam Pugh, Nicholas Romero, and R. Alan Seals. “Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment.” The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 15.3 (2015): 1093-125. Web. 1 Nov. 2015. Scheid TL. Employment of individuals with mental disabilities: business response to the ADA’s challenge. Behav Sci Law 1999; 17:73-91.
  3. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 15, Issue 3, Pages 1093-1125, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, ISSN (Print) 2194-6108, DOI:10.1515/bejeap-2014-0082, March 2015

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