LGST 210

Topics: Discrimination, Affirmative action, Reverse discrimination Pages: 7 (1361 words) Published: April 12, 2015


Should employers be able to hire whomever they want, on whatever terms they are able, or should there be significant rules about non-discrimination and anti-nepotism put in place as to hiring and terms of employment? Explain your position in terms of moral and/or economic factors.

Samuel Ward
LGST 210-002
Matthew Lister
12/19/2014
Workplace morality and hiring ethics
Following my graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, I will be flung into the job-search market competing against millions of other well qualified students. What is interesting however, is that I am equipped with my usual resume items: GPA, my major, extra-curricular achievements, etc…, and I have the advantage of being mixed-race. As a dual citizen, I can better fit the diverse profile that firms today are seeking. The underlying issue is that these employers are facing pressure to hire individuals that increase the racial, gender, and economic background diversity of the company. Even though it might give me the slight preference I need, I reject the belief that these non-discrimination profiles should be met and instead support the claim that employers should not be constrained in their decision making. Hirers should select applicants without bias and match them with their job according to their own merit and character. Any affirmative action should not be based on gender nor race, but instead should be financially based in order to provide a fair chance for success.

The purpose of affirmative action is to “level the playing field”; to ensure that no matter the race, gender, or economic disadvantage, there is an equal opportunity for everyone. In the context of the hiring process, it means that nobody should be overlooked due to those reasons. According to American philosopher Louis P. Pojman (1998), there is a division in the overreaching topic of affirmative action. Pojman separates the topic into two classes: weak and strong affirmative action with the distinguishing factor being that “weak” action seeks equal opportunity whereas “strong” goes for equal results. This “strong” type of affirmative action looks to compensate for groups of people that have been oppressed in the past.

The advancement of people within the same group that had been historically discriminated upon does not truly aid the issue because those that faced the oppression are not present any longer (Feinberg, 1998, p. 288). Such action only furthers the discrimination. Relating this advancement to workplace hiring, employers are pressured to specifically hire minorities or females. In some cases, the employer can benefit financially from a diverse hire. Former Time magazine writer, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, who was born and grew up in Japan, acknowledges the strong possibility that she may have been a “quota hire”. She writes that her boss was known for his trend of hiring to increase diversity and that he did receive bonuses for doing so (Cullen 2007). The argument is not that Cullen or any of the other employees that were hired due to a non-merit reason were not qualified to earn their positions. The argument is that in the process of searching for diversity, reverse discrimination occurred when a whole subset of the population was overlooked due to aspects outside of their control. Stated by American philosopher and Professor Carl Cohen (2003), “There is no ethnic preference that can be ‘benign’”. What may seemingly aid in the erasure of prior discrimination ultimately leads to new, unwanted discrimination. The moral problem here is that if person A is discriminated upon, he is due compensation. However, person A should not be due compensation at the expense of person B.

Moreover, preferential or compensatory hiring has an overall negative effect economically. In order to avoid lawsuits and to create an appropriate and respectful environment, companies have to go through a diversity training process (Bregman...

Cited: Bregman, Peter. "Diversity Training Doesn 't Work." Harvard Business Review. N.p., 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.
Cullen, Lisa. "I Was a Diversity Hire." Business.Time.com. Time Magazine, 27 Apr. 2007. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.
Dobbin, Frank, Alexandra Kalev, and Erin Kelly. "Diversity Management in Corporate America." Contexts 6.4 (2007): 21-27. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.
Durham, Jeff. "Nepotism at Work." Nepotism at Work. N.p., 1 May 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.
Feinberg, Walter. "Affirmative Action." On Higher Ground Education and the Case for Affirmative Action. New York: Teachers College, 1998. 272-97. Print.
Pojman, Louis P. "The Case Against Affirmative Action." Ed. Elliot D. Cohen. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 12.1 (1998): 97-115. Web.
Sacks, David O., and Peter A. Thiel. The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus. Oakland, CA: Independent Institute, 1998. Print.
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