Home > Free Essays > Law > Labor Law > The Issue of Workplace Equity

The Issue of Workplace Equity Analytical Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Aug 12th, 2019


Work equity is a major issue affecting most organizations around the world, regardless of whether they are public or private institutions. While everybody prefers being treated equally at workplace, there are numerous cases when employees are not treated with fairness, to a level of public concern.

Such cases have prompted the formulation of laws in different countries to deal with cases of unequal treatment especially in public organizations. Such laws define the manner in which workers are supposed to be treated, without favoritism in executing leadership or managerial authority (Peetz et al. 406).

This paper explores the issue of workplace equity, focusing on a wide-range of aspects like its background, benefits, disadvantages, and challenges among others.


Workplace equity is a broad aspect of management, which ensures that there is fair representation of people in an organization. This therefore means that workplace equity can be described variedly, depending on parameters of representation.

In most cases, workplace equity strives to ensure that the minority groups are well-considered in all aspects of employment, starting with the manner in which employees are recruited to how they perform their duties (Peetz et al. 406). In order to comply with laws and create a positive public image, most institutions offer equal chances for men and women in cases where there are vacant positions to be occupied.

Even though this is the case, some countries may have cultural beliefs, which limit the opportunities of members of a particular gender. Under such circumstances, women are known to suffer most because nearly all societies limit the opportunities of women.

Besides gender, workplace equity ensures that people with disabilities are treated equally with dignity and respect, regardless of their physical situations. Since disabled people are limited, it is important for institutions to have a fair approach, starting with recruitment, training, remuneration, and overall relationship between employees and employers.

People with disabilities can compete effectively if they are provided with the physical aid that they may require (Anenson 1). This ensures that tasks assigned to them are well-done within the provided time. In other words, institutions have the obligation of providing facilities, which promote the effectiveness of disabled people with regard to hiring and performance of different tasks at workplace.

Another factor which determines workplace equity is race, especially in cases where the society is made up people from different ethnic backgrounds. In order for this to happen, it is important to consider potential candidates fairly during recruitment, training, and payment. Where equality is not observed, minority ethnic groups may be disadvantaged due to poor representation in different government institutions (Anenson 1).

While private organizations may have customized approaches, relating to the hiring of employees and their retention, public firms need to exercise high degree of fairness to the entire country. Although it is not easy for an entire institution to be fair to all employees in every aspect, it is the responsibility of senior managers to be the ambassadors of equity in all their decisions and actions at workplace.

Theory of equity

The issue of workplace equity has been discussed by various theorists and experts throughout history. Following such surveys and researches, John Stacey Adams proposed ideas, which have found significant application in the understanding of quality at workplace. In his theory, Adams mainly addressed the issue of equity in relation to motivation of employees in an organization.

His findings have been found to match with those of other psychologists like Charles Handy and Maslow among other experts in the field (Pravin 316). According to Adams, equity at workplace plays a major role in defining an employee’s attitude towards his or her work. In other words, the theory has a wider view of certain factors that are likely to affect the entire workforce, even though a few people might be directly affected.

This can be qualified based on the fact that fairness and equity are defined in comparison with how other employees are treated under the same working conditions. Furthermore, fair treatment motivates workers, because they feel appreciated for their efforts in advancing the aims and objectives of the organization (Pravin 316).

In describing workplace equity, Adams focused on what people give and receive in return as inputs and outputs respectively. Inputs may include skills and energy, which employees use in performing their tasks, assigned by the management of the organization (Pravin 316). Nevertheless, such efforts are not offered free-of-charge, especially in cases where a person has been hired to receive outputs after offering specified services.

In this context, it is equally important that to note that inputs go beyond the number of hours people spend at their workplaces. Similarly, outputs comprise of other factors beyond money, which is viewed by most people as the sole output.

The main focus of the theory is the state of those we compare ourselves with in order to establish whether they are treated fairly or not. According to the theory, there are several factors within a workplace, which determine the source of motivation for most people, working in any institution. It is for this reason that people tend to establish a balance between what is given and the reward received as a result of effort and skills.

Through comparison with others, people develop better relationships with friends and colleagues as a way of understanding personal fairness at workplace. Most people get affected when they realize that their workmates are being treated in a different manner (Pravin 316). The response is likely to be negative in cases where their colleagues are rewarded with better terms as compared to what they earn.

This can be used to understand why employees get discouraged when a section of the workforce is exempted from pay-rise or promotion. In understanding workplace equity, it is essential to note that people respond to unfair treatment at workplace differently, depending on the impact of varied treatment accorded to employees.

Discouragement and total hatred are common in cases where a person learns that the kind of rewards offered are less than those given to another group yet they belong to the same professional level (Pravin 316).

Workplace Equity in Canada

Workplace equity is highly encouraged in Canada, to ensure that nobody is treated unfairly for reasons, which are not related to one’s ability. The success of equity starts with identifying various forms of discrimination in public institutions before addressing ways of overcoming them.

As mentioned before, women, Aboriginals, and those with disabilities are highly prone to unfair treatment while at work (Zanko 73). In order to promote workplace equity, it is important to establish a way of dealing with the vice and the ability to accommodate people with differences.

Canada is one of the countries with a proud history of workplace equity. In 1970s, the country witnessed wide-spread efforts in support of human rights law, which addressed intentional discrimination. During this time, most Canadians found it hard to secure employment because of existing barriers, which they had to deal with.

There was need for a proactive approach in promoting employment opportunities through change of practices and culture (Zanko 73). It was until 1978 that the government introduced an affirmative action for the private sector. Nevertheless, these efforts bore little fruits as it turned out that employers had not initiated programs to deal with workplace equity.

As a result, the Royal Commission on Equity in Employment was established, chaired by Judge Rosalie Abella. The commission recommended a mandatory program known as Employment Equity, which recognized women, Aboriginals, and disabled people as the designated groups in the country (Zanko 73).

The Employment Equity Act

The first Employment Equity Act was ratified in 1986 before it was amended in 1995. The main purpose of the act, which is upheld to-date, is to promote workplace equity in Canada through equal employment and promotion opportunities for all citizens (Catano 80).

In essence, the act ensures that there is full representation of the designated groups in public institutions, based on the needs of the market and the availability of those seeking employment.

In order for the act to be effectively implemented, employers are required to eliminate all forms of employment barriers against minorities, emanating from unauthorized practices and policies. Additionally, employers are supposed to make adjustments within their systems in order to reflect equal representation within the workforces based on eligibility, geography and qualifications (Catano 80).

Even though the sole purpose of establishing the Employment Equity Program is to improve the representation of designated groups in the labor force, it is worth noting that there are benefits, which employers experience as a result of implementing such programs. The following segment discusses some of these benefits.

Advantages of workplace equity to employers

The first benefit of promoting workplace equity is that it enhances large markets for goods and services. This is based on the fact that the success of any organization or business is based on its continuous expansion of its customer base (Bailyn 97).

The rise in globalization in the 21st century has led to a significant shift in demographic trends around the world. An institution, which is committed to expansion, ought to widen its scope of customers and employees in order to take advantage of the growing market. Large markets increase the demand for what is being produced thus creating the need for higher levels of institutional production.

Besides the expansion of a country’s market, workplace equity promotes an expanded labor pool to meet the needs of the country. For instance, when equal opportunities are given to all the citizens for specific positions, the government gets an opportunity to select the best candidates from a variety of applicants (Bailyn 100).

It is paramount to note that minorities in the society may also possess relevant skills, which could be needed in a given sector. However, their skills and knowledge can only be recognized if they are considered during recruitment and equal treatment at workplace.

A larger pool of talents ensures that the hiring institution gets a wide-range of options in order to meet the ever-changing needs of the market due to evolving technology and market trends.

Another important benefit of workplace equity is that it promotes good public relations. Institutions, which are known for unfair treatment of its employment, are likely to develop a negative public image, which may have far-reaching effects on its performance and future expansion opportunities (Cadrain 44).

In most cases, citizens are keen to identify with institutions, which seem to address existing employment hardships in the market by offering equal opportunities to potential candidates. As good corporate citizens, such institutions are likely to win the confidence and trust of its employees.

Since public institutions carry the image of the government, workplace equity further presents a positive and likeable image of the government.

Through such initiatives, citizens are able to witness the commitment of the government in promoting equity among people with different needs in the society (Cadrain 44). As a result, the public would be more patriotic and willing to defend their nation because of the equal opportunities it endeavors to offer within the labor market.

Furthermore, workplace equity guarantees better legal benefits, especially in countries where employers are required by law to consider all designated groups of people during hiring and at work. Institutions, which do not comply with the legal requirements, regarding equity, are likely to pay hefty fines or face the punishment recommended by the federal government, which may include sanctions and limited operating space (Budd 2).

When an institution remains committed to workplace equity, it means that there will be no complaints from employees and the public.

In addition, workplace equity promotes motivation among employees. In other words, they feel recognized by their employers and remain committed to performing their tasks effectively. Besides this, institutions are able to minimize retention costs since employees will be satisfied with working conditions (Budd 2).

For this reason, most of them will not have the urge to resign or seek better opportunities elsewhere. As a result, organizations minimize their turnover, thus avoiding unnecessary expenditure on hiring and training of new employees frequently.

Besides the retention of employees, workplace equity plays a major role in pulling qualified candidates who get attracted to the organization because of its fair treatment of employees. Talented people usually prefer working in places where they are treated with dignity regardless of their shortcomings.

Additionally, they value how their colleagues are treated, in order to establish the company’s fairness in handling its employees (International Labor Organization 63). When talented people get attracted to an organization, high skilled manpower is guaranteed to drive the firm’s performance in a competitive world.

This further ensures that labor needs are met with minimal expenses, which are commonly incurred in advertising jobs, hiring, and training. Through such savings, a firm gets an allowance to expand its operations and improve its services without spending a lot of money.

Government Role in Workplace Equity

In understanding workplace equity, it is imperative to note that it can only be achieved with collective responsibility. In other words, it calls upon the input of the government, individual institutions, and citizens to ensure that employees are treated fairly. For instance, the government’s role ranges from the formulation to the implementation of laws, which promote equity at workplaces in the country.

In essence, the government drafts laws, describing the need for workplace equity, designated groups, penalties for defaulters, and the implementation process (International Labor Organization 63). Without such initiatives by the government, it would be hard for institutions to promote equity at different workplaces.

Besides formulating laws, which govern workplace equity, the government is mandated to ensure that the laws are followed as stipulated in the act. In other words, no achievements would be realized if no mechanisms are instituted to enhance the implementation process (Zanko 73). In most cases, governments adopt compliance review, which allows institutions to present their progress in terms of workplace equity.

Similarly, follow-up compliance review may be undertaken as a way of assessing the efforts initiated by institutions in implementing workplace equity plans. Depending on the provisions of the law, compliance reviews can take place after a definite period of time, say, after every two years or randomly, to ensure that employers remain committed to complying with the law.

The government also plays a pivotal role in initiating reviews of the law, in order to address the changing needs of the labor market and the dynamic demographic patterns. Such reviews are important in addressing new issues and eliminating errors, which may have been witnessed during the implementation of the laws (Zanko 73).

Moreover, through its implementation, the government takes legal action against those who do not comply with the law through court decisions or fines as stipulated by the law. Such legal actions discourage other institutions from engaging in practices, which go against the law.

In addition, the government creates awareness among its citizens in order for them to understand their rights. Public education is therefore necessary in enlightening the public and the employers on the need of having a fair working environment. Through such forums, citizens also realize their responsibility in the overall process of implementing employment equity programs (Zanko 73).

Importantly, this education ensures that the public is aware of the designated groups of people, and how they ought to be represented at workplace. In essence, it would be hard for an employee to realize the unfairness of the manager if the rights of workers are not known. On the other hand, an enlightened citizen can easily evaluate the performance of an institution, depending on established parameters.

Workplace Equity Challenges

Whilst workplace equity has a wide range of advantages, it has been found that its implementation is faced with various challenges, which may vary from one institution or country to another. For instance, some institutions resist equity programs because they believe that the quality of people hired is likely to be compromised.

While this may be the case, it has been argued that the presence of a limited characterization of potential candidates further complicates the issue (Gottfried and Laura 256). In some cases, employers tend to ignore the immense role of employee diversity during recruitment and the manner in which the management relates with its employees.

When qualified candidates do not portray fair representation with regard to existing designated groups, it becomes hard for the institution to comply with employment regulations. This is also based on the fact that one cannot be forced to apply for a given job position, merely because he or she belongs to a minority group.

Another challenge emanates from the perception of most disadvantaged people who resist being considered in a special way because of their shortcomings. Others argue that such appointments and promotions are likely to promote stigma and discrimination against the minorities in the society (Gottfried and Laura 256).

Since disadvantaged people may have equal needs with other groups of people, there is usually a likelihood of people thinking in terms of favoritism. In this line of thought, promotions done within such a context may be considered to be biased.

Implementation of workplace equity challenges also face public and private organizations, some of which may have streamlined command structures. In particular, implementation of such programs highly require the input of senior managers, who have to be convinced exhaustively about the value of intended moves in advancing the agenda of the firm.

This has been found to be hard especially in organizations, which are characterized by decentralization and cultural diversity (International Labor Organization 63).

When the organization is highly diverse, a single policy on workplace equity may not be effective in promoting equal representation of designated groups of people. In some cases, professionals believe in their autonomy, a state, which cannot easily be changed by allowing disadvantaged people to join them.

Similarly, most equity efforts around the world face intersectional challenges. For instance, a program, which is aimed at increasing the number of women, may end up recruiting more white women than black (Peetz et al. 406). Furthermore, efforts to promote gender equity face a wide-range of challenges in cases where the workplaces are dominated by men, coming from traditional societies that undermine women.

In such a state, it might be hard to convince employees and other managers about the need for gender equality at workplace.

Nevertheless, religious diversity equally plays a major role in implementing workplace equity in most parts of the country. This is widely common in cases where faith intersects with sexuality, thus limiting fairness in handling employees. For instance, traditional religionists consider homosexuality and gender non-conformity as sinful and harmful.

In the event that a workplace is dominated by such employees, who strongly subscribe to religion, it would be hard to accommodate people with contradictory behavior and religious standards (Peetz et al. 406).

Even though, there have been efforts to promote equality, discrimination of this nature is still common in most parts of the world. Resistance of this nature is usually strong in cases where the condemnation comes from a traditional Christian or ethno-religious minorities.

Workplace Equity and Politics

It is evident that politics play a major role in country, especially in making national decisions and formulation of laws. Based on this, it is important to consider the impact of politics in addressing the issue of workplace equity. Leaders of political parties may influence the kind of laws to be ratified in promoting employment equity.

Importantly, politicians primarily influence the society through decisions taken by the government in implementing and reviewing workplace equity rules (Peetz et al. 406). It is therefore important for such leaders to understand the need for equity and existing factors to be addressed by managers in public and private institutions when recruiting, promoting and relating with employees.

In rare cases, some employees or potential candidates may be discriminated based on their political affiliations. Even though this might be the case, people have the freedom to belong to a given political party without being undermined at their workplaces.

The future of Workplace Equity

With the changing labor needs and demographic patterns, the world is likely to experience an array of changes regarding workplace equity. This will also be determined by the growing awareness of different designated groups of people in the society and the need of treating them with dignity.

For instance, governments around the world identify the classes of people who require consideration during recruitments, training, remuneration, and promotions (Bailyn 97). This is likely to be achieved through public awareness, which equally helps minorities to champion their rights in a competitive working environment.

Monitoring of public institutions is likely to improve, especially with advanced technology. During follow-up and compliance review, better methods can be employed in order to obtain a more accurate view of how different managers consider employment equity while running public institutions (Anenson 10).

A good example would be the use of the internet to carry out online surveys in order to determine the achievements realized in promoting fair treatment of workers. Online surveys may save time since the process does not involve the movement of supervisors from one place to another.


As seen from the case of Canada, legislation plays a major role in promoting workplace equity in the world. In essence, it gives expansive guidelines on how institutions are supposed to address the issue of minorities in their labor forces.

Of great significance is the need for these legislative statutes to be expanded in order to address the changing demographic patterns like the growing number of lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgendered (Cadrain 44).

With regard to compliance, the review should address all questions of representation at all levels within the hierarchy of the institution. Additionally, these legislations ought to be tougher in order to compel institutions to consider equal representation of demographic constituents of a given society or country.

Additionally, massive public education is highly recommended in equipping the masses with knowledge about workplace equity. Even though one may belong to a group of minorities, it might not be easy for them to push for their rights in terms of being treated by the employer (Budd 2).

Through training forums, people will understand the meaning and implication of workplace equity. Besides equipping the public, managers need to be trained in order to implement workplace equity laws effectively. This would also help them in understanding the fines and consequences of breaching the law.


From the above analysis, it is evident that workplace equity remains a debatable issue in most parts of the world. Oftentimes, workplace equity is encouraged to motivate employees and bridge the gap among employees. Of great significance is the fact that workplace equity has a wide-range of benefits, which enhance the performance and growth of institutions.

For instance, organizations are able to retain employees, develop a larger market and promote cultural diversity. On the other hand, the process of implementing workplace equity has always been faced with challenges, including cultural and religious differences. Additionally, equal representation of various minority groups may be hampered by the attitude of employees.

Nevertheless, the effectiveness of workplace equity can be achieved through several approaches, including but not limited to training, public awareness, strong legislation, and compliance review strategies. Above all, the success of workplace equity requires collective responsibility for all the parties involved.

Works Cited

Anenson, Leigh. “The Role Of Equity In Employment Noncompetition Cases.” American Business Law Journal 42.1 (2005): 1-63. Print.

Bailyn, Lotte. “Redesigning Work For Gender Equity And Work-Personal Life Integration.” Community, Work & Family 14.1 (2011): 97-112. Print.

Budd, John. Employment With a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, And Voice. New York: Cornell University Press, 2006. Print.

Cadrain, Diane. “Sexual Equity In The Workplace.” HR Magazine 53.9 (2008): 44. Print.

Catano, Victor. Recruitment and Selection in Canada. Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

Gottfried, Heidi, and Reese Laura. Equity in the Workplace: Gendering Workplace Policy Analysis. Maryland: Lexington Books, 2004. Print.

International Labor Organization. Equality at Work: Tackling the Challenge : International Labour Conference 96th Session 2007, Report I. Geneva: International Labour Organization, 2007. Print.

Peetz et al. “Workplace Effects Of Equal Employment Opportunity Legislation: The Australian Experience.” Policy Studies 29.4 (2008): 405-419. Print.

Pravin, Durai. Human Resource Management. New Delhi: Pearson Education India, n.d. Print.

Zanko, Michael. The Handbook of Human. United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing. Print.

This analytical essay on The Issue of Workplace Equity was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Analytical Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2019, August 12). The Issue of Workplace Equity. https://ivypanda.com/essays/workplace-equity/


IvyPanda. (2019, August 12). The Issue of Workplace Equity. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/workplace-equity/

Work Cited

"The Issue of Workplace Equity." IvyPanda, 12 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/workplace-equity/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Issue of Workplace Equity." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/workplace-equity/.


IvyPanda. "The Issue of Workplace Equity." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/workplace-equity/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "The Issue of Workplace Equity." August 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/workplace-equity/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Issue of Workplace Equity'. 12 August.

Powered by CiteTotal, online reference generator
More related papers