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Critical Debate


CriticalDebate: Is Employment Equity fair and necessary?

Employmentequity tends to address the previous and current detrimentsexperienced by several labeled groups, namely the women, people fromthe aboriginal communities i.e. Indians, Inuit, and the Métis,individuals with physical and mental disabilities, and members of thevisible marginalized groups. These groups are more likely to besubjected to deliberate prejudice, bias, subtle, and involuntarydiscrimination. Spontaneous discrimination is a practice that isapplied equally across all groups and has an unreasonable andundesirable impact on the labeled group members. These days, thecosts of discrimination are numerous including minimal wages andsalaries, reduced opportunities for promotions and transfers, jobinsecurity, harassment, and under-employment at workplaces (ServiceCommission 1). The aim of employment equity act is to help inachieving equal treatment in the workplace through fostering fairopportunity and treatment in employment by eliminating biaseddiscernment practices and implementing affirmative action to redressthe weaknesses in work settings experienced by marginalized groups inorder to ensure equal representation in all roles and levels amongthe employees. Organizations operations, recruitment and developmentprocesses within the workplace must be managed while reflecting onthe Act. For a long time, equal employment opportunity has not beenfair and continues to be a hot issue in the contemporary job world.This raises a serious concern for organizations whereby whilestriving to achieve strategic goals they are influenced by thecomponent of compliance. It is important for employers to createequity in the workplace where every employee plays by the same rulesand in this way a harmonious and constructive work environment isestablished which is beneficial for enhancing a better relationshipwith coworkers. Employment equity is fair and should be encouragedacross all organizations.

Considera case where, decades ago, Ford Motor Company only employed men towork in their production department (CAW 1). In 1942, as men left tojoin the military forces to take part in the World War II, themanagement was compelled to employ women to work in their productionand manufacturing factories. Their wage policy proposed that menshould earn 80 cents per hour while the women earned 50 cents perhour (CAW 1). This instilled fear among the men as they felt thattheir low-salaried female counterpart will replace them. As a result,close to 9,000 men walked out of the production plants making an endto production (CAW 1). After heated discussions and negotiations, themanagement was obliged to support the equal pay policy. The termemployment equity has been the focus of many debates in the businessand economic world for a long time, provided the concept employee isin existence (Ovations 1).The ultimate objective of these discussionshas been to restore individual self-worth and respect in the workenvironment. It is a structured problem identification and resolutionmethod that confirms no single person gets denied a chance toemployment or promotion for specific reasons not linked to abilities.Most human harassments are experienced while at work since employeesare perceived as frantic persons who could respond to any tuneestablished by their employers. In examining the background of equalemployment, is the formulation and enactment of Employment Equity Actso as to satisfy the legal obligation to bar discrimination in thework environment and facilitate affirmative action measure thatcreates a more appreciated involvement into the work recruitmentprocesses. Successful implementation of employment equity starts withthe commitment to recognize and overcome intentional anddiscrimination faced by designated group members in the workplacesand to make certain that their total and fair contribution in thelabor market (Scott 1). For the above-discussed reasons, it waspossible for the federal government to enact its first employmentequity Act. The Act was meant to ensure that every American employeeis provided with equal employment and advancement opportunities.Equal employment opportunity is necessary thus, every employer isrequired to foster employment fairness through recognizing anderadicating employment obstacles against people featured indesignated groups that stem up from the company’s employmentpolicies, structures, and practices that are unauthorized by law(Service Commission 1). Some employees, consisting women of color,face bias, and harassment on various grounds. Currently, more than70% of women hold jobs in traditional occupations such as healthcare, education, clerical, and sales service (CAW 1). In contrast,less than 10% of employed women hold positions in the male-dominatedoccupations like construction, production, processing, crafts, etc.Similarly, the average salary for the aboriginal communities isestimated at 20% which is below the national average (CAW 1). Thesame population also experiences high rates of unemployment which isthree times greater than the national average. It has also beennoted, that more than 10% of the population in the US is physicallydisabled, in which case, only 50% of the physically challengedpersons have secured positions in the workplace (CAW 1). Given thestatistics above, it is evident that inequality in employment isstill extensive and is yet to receive redress from relevantauthorities.

Advantagesof Employment Equity

Withthe world being so dynamic and competitive, employment equity is soneeded in the workplaces today. Despite various legislationsestablished to ensure that every person is equally treateddiscernment, prejudice, and related shortcomings remains to berampant in the US as well as around the globe. These barriers thatstand in the path to equal employment opportunities may be physicalwhile some may be psychological, with many being unplanned. In theAmerica, employees come from diverse backgrounds, marked withdifferent experience, competence, and values. As such, employers tryto put their best efforts to promote equality at the workplaces.Promoting fairness in employment comes with its own fair share ofbenefits and disadvantages. Doing this contributes to greaterbenefits for the businesses that employers have to consider beforethey execute any workplace equality policies and practices.Regulations like the employment act motivate organizations toimplement equity policies in the workplace (Ovations 1).

Oneof the primary advantages of enhancing equality is to stimulateopportunities. When fairness in likeness is present, then employeeshave the chance to utilize their abilities and talents to their fullcapacity in a way that nurtures their skills. Organizations will bemade aware of what motivates every employee and what these impetusesare (Thibodeaux 1). This serves as an important aspect whenmonitoring workforce. Another point is that employees can activelyand positively participate in the organization in a variety of waysover a given period while capitalizing on each one’s capabilities.For instance, an employee in the manufacturing department withsufficient background in accounts may be transferred to the financedepartment. Where employers have to eliminate certain positions,employees can equal chances to apply for other roles within theorganization. At the end of the day, the organization can retaincurrent and loyal workers and therefore, does not have to exert manyefforts to the selection and recruitment processes (Scott 1).

Enhancingequity in employment will contribute to positive reputation. It hasbeen observed that employers who routinely follow the workplaceequality policies and execute regulations to support these doctrinesare able to demonstrate their values and compliance to the public(Thibodeaux 1). This serves to boost the reputation of theorganization, translating to improved performance and profits. Makingopportunities accessible to everyone in enhancing employment equalityprovides managers with a broad range of potential candidates tochoose. As such, the company will acquire qualified and experiencedworkers (Thibodeaux 1). Another advantage is that job equalityimplies that corporations have to make necessary accommodation togive every employee a fair representation. As much as the process mayprove to be expensive e.g. making a friendly work environment to thedisabled, organizations can largely benefit given that the worker canexecute their roles to make up for the costs that will, in the end,be to the advantage of the business.


Incontrast to the above benefits, those that do not foster equity inemployment claim that it tends to clash with the goals of skilldevelopment. Organizations are obliged to hire persons who in thefirst place would not have been appointed by the firm. The promotionof diversity in the workplace can be time-consuming. A lot ofresources may be required to develop and execute employment equitypolicy. It is also perceived that incompetent candidates are likelyto be hired in various roles so as to satisfy the equity requirements(Thibodeaux 1). Another aspect is that when equality is not enhancedmay lead to conflict in the workplace which may negatively affect theemployees’ productivity and organizational performance.


Equalemployment opportunity stimulates fairness in the work setting. Italso guarantees employees` better access to employer benefits e.g.promotions, disability accommodations, job responsibilities, faircompensation, and insurance. An employer that discriminates againstor treats his/her workers unfairly violates the equal employmentopportunity act and is liable to face disciplinary actions. Sincediversity is an essential element in the current business world,employers need to provide diverse and conducive work atmosphere bydiscouraging prejudice against potential candidates and remainingpersonnel on the grounds of skin color, gender, sexual orientation,religion, or for any category secured by the regulation. It is hightime for employers to enforce mandatory employment fairness so as toconfront the issues of prejudice and discrimination that is builtinto the organization’s structures, whether or not they result frompeople’s activities. Distinctive initiatives and approaches havebeen established to bring balance, eradicate barriers, stopdiscriminatory practices and in the end, improve the equality inworkplace (Scott 1). Indeed, having effective employment equitypolicies as a necessity will challenge the management’s traditionalselection and recruitment processes and ensure that the workenvironment provides an equal. This will also aid to eliminate sexualand racial harassment incidences, parental leave provisions,negotiating child care, and providing education and training programsto put all employees on equal footing for promotions and entry intonon-traditional roles (CAW 1). Additionally, commitment to fairnessin employment implies that we act within our union. Employees demandequal opportunities and diversity in the workplace. It is, therefore,fair to say that fostering equal employment opportunity is to theutmost advantage for any organization.


CAW.CAW TCA Canada. Employment Equity. A Commitment to Equality. n.d.http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/eppp-archive/100/200/301/ic/can_digital_collections/caw/equity.htm.Accessed on 13 November 2016

Ovations.Governance, Risk, and Compliance. Employment equity compliance:enabling competitive advantage. 2012.

Scott,Sherrie. Small Business. What Is Equal Opportunity Employment?. 2016http://smallbusiness.chron.com/equal-opportunity-employment-895.html.Accessed on 13 November 2016.

ServiceCommission. Employment Equity: at Work. 2013.http://lin.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/jk71.htm.Accessed on 13 November 2016

Thibodeaux,Wanda. Small Business. Advantages and Disadvantages of Equality inthe Workplace. 2016.