Theories of Discrimination

Discrimination has been one of the most pertinent issues in the
contemporary human society. It underlines the treatment of individuals
in a different (and usually negative) manner based on their race,
religion, creed or even nationality among other factors. Varied theories
of discrimination have been devised in an effort to explain how it
occurs in the workplace including disparate treatment, disparate impact
and reasonable impact.
Disparate treatment revolves around the treatment of differential
treatment of people where the variations are based on the people’s
race, color, sex, religion, national origin and disability status. This
is mainly defensible in cases where such qualities are necessary
qualifications for carrying out the job (Noe et al, 2011).
Disparate impact, on the other hand, revolves around disproportionate
exclusion of a certain group from employment opportunities with
employment opportunities being seemingly neutral. It differs from
disparate treatment in the fact that the plaintiffs do not have to show
that the employer intentionally treated the individuals differently (Noe
et al, 2011). The intent in disparate impact is usually to identify
individuals that have the capacity to perform the jobs. Indeed,
disparate impact is defended on the basis of “business necessity”.
Reasonable accommodation requires employers to make some adjustment to
allow otherwise qualified individuals to carry out a job. This principle
acknowledges the variations that exist between the practices and
religious observations of individuals with the dress codes, work duties
and other company practices (Noe et al, 2011). The key defense in the
case of reasonable accommodation revolves around indicating that the
disability or religious practices would present undue hardships on the
employers. On the same note, the employer may show that the
accommodation of a disability necessitates significant difficulty or
expense on the side of the employer. On the same note, the employers may
show that it is impossible to carry out certain tasks when dressed in a
certain manner.
Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2011).
Fundamentals of human resource management (4th ed.). Chicago, IL: