Table of Contents
Discrimination is considered a controversial phenomenon that challenges the functionality of the warehouse and distribution department in any organization, specifically affecting the profession of the warehouse distribution supervisor. This department is mostly male dominated due to the nature of work involved; consequently, a few women who engage in this kind of work are likely to be discriminated. With recent progress and changes witnessed in the world, laws were enacted to reduce the level of gender discrimination, especially of women and persons with disabilities. However, the discrimination based on gender remains persistent and women continue to go through hardships and struggles to enjoy the same benefits as men. This paper discusses gender-based discrimination ethical problem, explains what it entails, and analyzes approaches taken to control the vice, among others.
Women normally choose job fields with the minimized inequality such as business related fields while, on the other hand, their male counterparts tend to prefer jobs that are male dominated like engineering and mechanical jobs (Garcia-Bernal, Gargallo-Castel, Marzo-Navaro, & Rivera-Torres, 2005). It is proven that females prefer jobs that focus on helping others while men generally tend to prefer careers driven by power and challenges (Ross, 2008). Legally, gender-based discrimination is prohibited in all places of work but persists in many countries and different organizations. Grasping the nature and extent of this ethical issue may eventually contribute to the input of warehouse distribution management and curb this problem. The studies of meta-analytical research made indicate that minimal evidence exists that suggests that the performance of jobs is affected by gender, which implies that it is difficult to quantify the performance charts of women and men, in general (Robbins & Judge, 2011). The general assumption held by researchers Robbins and Judge (2011) dictates that one should conclude that no major difference could be seen in the productivity of women and men in their jobs.
Problem Description and Statement
Women generally have a less earning power as compared to men. For instance, when it comes to promotion opportunities to senior or higher positions within the organization, male employees are more likely to become promoted (Bernardin, 2010; Noe, Hollenbeck, Gergart, & Wright, 2008; Cascio, 2010). A research conducted by Milkovich and Newman (2008) indicates that women tend to hold minimal power seats and continuously tend to have a lower earnings ratio as compared to men in the places of work. Females have been denied equality in the workplace with a number of reasons behind it to try to conceal the inequality. Some of the explanations used include work patterns, education, responsibilities of childbearing, and even occupational choices. Despite all these explanations and reasons, women still feel that they are discriminated unfairly because they are denied the opportunity to improve their standards of living financially. Moreover, this situation also affects their esteem issues by making them have the view that no matter how hard they work and prove to be worthy employees, they will never be rewarded equally, thus being demotivated.
A report made by Rowe in 2012 together with the New Labor, which surveyed about 291 logistics employees working in the warehouse industries like Wal-Mart in New Jersey, found that recruiting agencies generally employ the criteria of gender while hiring workers. Furthermore, findings also showed that female workers face limitations when it comes to the promotion to a higher-paying position. Lindemann and Britton (2015), who conducted a case study about the plight of women in the warehouse in New Jersey, stated that females feel demoralized and unappreciated for the work they do because they are paid between $7.50 to $9.75 per day. On the other hand, their male counterparts earn $11 and even $12 doing the same job, which makes women question the criteria used to determine how men and women should be paid. The disorganization structurally seen in the warehouse distribution sectors in New Jersey has seen women experience some negative effects that include occupational sex segregation and sexual harassment, with over 80% of females in the warehouse claiming to have experienced one or both of these gender discrimination cases. However, they face the problem of having no one to report to due to the structural disorganization in the warehouse. Gender discrimination affects women in the warehouse in New Jersey by impacting their general life and work balance. In particular, the childcare cost is a heavy load for women to carry because of the difference in payment as mentioned above (Lindemann & Britton, 2015). This study of women in the warehouse in New Jersey shows that they are turned away from work without being paid, which implies that money is lost when paying for childcare needs, as they have not received their salaries.
Approaches Taken to Address the Discrimination Issue
Legislative approach. With an aim of preventing the discrimination of any type in the workplace, governments in various countries enforced different laws to act as an inhibitor to such kinds of discriminations. Depending on the type of the discrimination, the Act established is specifically introduced to deal with this particular type of discrimination. For example, in the United Kingdom, to curb discrimination based on gender, the Sex Discrimination Act was established. It has two elements that are fundamentally important in protecting the rights of women. The first one is claim discrimination in the case women are treated less favorably when compared to their male counterparts, given that equality is mintained for all other qualifications. The second one is the situation when different treatment happens mainly due to the nature of marital status or sex. Consequently, the woman can claim direct discrimination. In the United States, for the remuneration type of discrimination, the Equal Pay Act or Equality Act was enforced. Finally, in case woman is pregnant while in the workplace, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act or Law was established. All these acts and laws were enforced by the parliament of the country and their main purpose is to combat any form of the gender-based discrimination. These laws protect people and, in this particular case, warehouse distribution employees from being discriminated in the workplace based on their sex by protecting them from sexual harassment (Ross, 2008). These laws also ensure the equality in payment and remuneration, as well as equality during recruitment and promotion processes. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights is also at the forefront of combating gender-based discrimination with the introduction of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Anti-discrimination policy. Warehouse distribution supervisors can handle the issue of gender-based discrimination by establishing the anti-discrimination policy. This policy is used in defining discrimination and it forms a basis for the description of the behavior that is acceptable in the warehouse by relating it to gender topics like marital status and pregnancy. This kind of policies prohibits and prevents practices or activities that in any way tend to be discriminating. Workplace anti-discrimination policies allow warehouse distribution supervisors to instill discipline in workers who exhibit behavior that is discriminatory in any way to any gender and, most specifically, to women (Scott, 2016). These policies also act as an insurance policy for warehouse distribution supervisors whenever a lawsuit is raised concerning gender-based discrimination in the warehouse to show that they advocate for the eradication of gender-based discrimination.
Workplace audit. Through employing an audit approach in the warehouse, warehouse distribution supervisors can deal with sex discrimination cases. The audit approach is generally used in the identification of those practices or activities that result in the enhancement of discrimination activities. For instance, a supervisor may come to the realization that when it comes to promotion opportunities, only men are promoted to high-paying positions in the department (Scott, 2016). Through the workplace audit, warehouse supervisors may take the initiative to implement a fresh process of worker re-evaluation. Thus, they should follow the right criteria when choosing employees to promote and recommend for higher pay based on the job performance rather than gender.
Training and education. Training and educational programs can be initiated with the main goal of educating employees on the negative implications caused by gender-based discrimination in the workplace. Such programs serve the purpose of raising the awareness of employees in regard to gender-based issues and the impacts of these problems on the relationships between workers and their output performance. Training and educational programs and initiatives assist employees in exploring belief systems and attitudes toward various gender topics. Such initiatives also help encourage employees to engage in a dialogue focusing on gender and also assist in establishing relationships on an interpersonal basis. Thus, training and educational programs discourage gender-based discrimination in warehouse sectors.
Diversity program. As a result of an organization lacking diversity, the issue of gender-based discrimination is usually prevalent. In the case of a firm that has an unequal representation of employees in the warehouse, it could ultimately promote the discrimination of minority groups. For an organization to engage in the elimination or reduction of any kind of discrimination in the company, it should ensure that the diversity of the staff is well balanced by creating a well-defined inclusion and diversity program (Scott, 2016). Such programs are beneficial because they enhance the diversity of gender via efforts put in the recruitment and retention process, gender-specific accountability measures, and employee awareness.
This approach presupposes that the behavior is moral when it brings positive results for the majority of people affected. The maker of the decision, in this case, the warehouse distribution supervisor, needs to consider the implication of every decision made in regard to all participants, in this case, employees of the warehouse. Therefore, warehouse distribution supervisors should make decisions that optimize and maximize the satisfaction of most employees in the department. When making decisions concerning the performance of functions in the department, warehouse distribution supervisors should always remember consequences caused by a particular decision. In particular, the decision should promote the virtues of freedom, health, integrity, happiness, respect, and dignity of all persons in the department (Hartman, DesJardins, & MacDonald, 2014). To eliminate gender-based discrimination issues, warehouse distribution supervisors should make sure that decisions made in the department address the issue itself. Moreover, decisions should in no way conflict with the laws of discrimination of gender, for example, during the performance of duties like loading and unloading of products, packing and unpacking, sorting, quality control, or even transportation.
This approach holds the idea that each person is accorded individual fundamental rights that in no way can be taken away from anyone by the decision of another individual. Decisions made by warehouse distribution supervisors should be ethically correct to ensure that the rights of gender discriminated people in the department are not affected by their decisions. Some of the rights that warehouse distribution supervisors should consider during making decisions concerning the warehouse department include the right to privacy that dictates that people can opt to do as they want outside their workplaces and possess the information control concerning their private life. Another right is the right to free speech that outlines that persons are free to criticize truthfully the legality or ethics of other people. The right to life and safety dictates that all persons should be accorded the freedom to live without the violation or endangerment of their safety and health. Furthermore, the right to free consent states that persons should be treated only if they give their consent. Finally, the due process right dictates that people are accorded the right to fair treatment and an impartial hearing (Hartman et al., 2014). Therefore, warehouse distribution supervisors use these rights as a guideline during decision-making processes in the department. Consequently, they ensure that their decisions do not infringe on any of the rights.
This approach presupposes that the actions made by an individual or organization remain moral as long as they are promoting the best interests of an individual in the long-term, which eventually results in the achievement of the greater good. This approach results in building employee integrity and honesty because it aims at achieving a greater good of individuals in the long-term. Warehouse distribution supervisors in the warehouse can implement this approach through training and educational programs established in the organization. Furthermore, they can come up with a long-term solution, which can make employees respect their fellow workers irrespective of gender and thus promote equality in the warehouse department (Hartman et al., 2014). The individualism approach can develop the virtues of self-value and integrity in employees, which can result in a sense of trust and responsibility for actions and decisions made by warehouse distribution supervisors. It may also contribute to fairness in the department, hence reducing the cases of gender-based discrimination in the warehouse.
Summary and Conclusion
This study provides an insight into the level and nature of gender-based discrimination in the warehouse from the perspective of warehouse distribution supervisors. In this industry, the major victims of gender-based discrimination are women. In New Jersey, female employees working in warehouses go through various hardships, starting from agencies that employ them and warehouses in which they work. In particular, they are more often dismissed, receive unequal payment, are sexually harassed, and have no balance between their work and family life. Thus, discrimination is mostly witnessed during the stages of promotion, recruitment for positions in the warehouse, an increase in salaries and benefits, and unequal payment for women and men. There are some reasons used to deny women and, sometimes, even men equal opportunities in the warehouse, which results in this inequality experienced in the workplace. They include work patterns, education, responsibilities of childbearing and even occupational choices such as the nature or the technicality of the job involved. In this case, the warehouse presupposes a number of technical duties like loading and unloading of products, sorting, and even the transportation of products. The significance of this research is supported by the evidence of countries taking measures to prevent and prohibit the act of gender-based discrimination in the workplace. For example, both the United States and the United Kingdom have introduced laws that defend individuals in gender-based violence and discrimination cases.
This research shows that gender-based discrimination continues to happen despite the progress made and laws put in place to curb this problem in workplaces. It has also shown that gender-based discrimination normally occurs at specific stages of operation that include promotion, hiring, and remuneration. It is recommended that government policy makers and agencies should put in place legislation that will govern all recruitment agencies and warehouse management, in particular. The legislation should consider the plight of women working in the warehouses where women and men payment should be comparable and equal. It is also recommended that in case the gender-based discrimination case is reported, the government agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the United States should take immediate action by conducting thorough investigations into the claim. If the parties mentioned are found guilty, then appropriate legal actions should be taken. It is also recommended that government policy makers and agencies need to enforce social responsibility corporation codes. It is recommended that warehouse distribution companies should act in compliance with state and federal requirements concerning the provision of benefits, compensation of workers, maternity leaves, disability and earned sick days. It is also recommended that warehouse distribution supervisors should ensure that transparent systems are put in place that are specifically used to report incidences of gender-based discrimination in the warehouse and where persons affected will not feel the pressure of being subject to retaliation when they report.