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population in the United States. Simply describing the increased numbers
of claims alone may not reflect a realistic understanding of the degree of
the impact that discrimination has had on minorities.
One way in which workplace discrimination is addressed requires trust
in the impartiality and understanding of the judiciary or other redress sys-
tems. Courts and regulatory agencies may not always reflect the full sig-
nificance of discrimination findings (White, 2004) .
Since reliable hard data on racial and ethnic discrimination is very dif-
ficult to acquire, it often comes down to uncertain anecdotal evidence.
These data may be indicative of underlying trends but rely very heavily
on individual interpretations of what is occurring. Many of the factors
that account for racial discrimination and socioeconomic exclusion are
well understood, but monitoring them is not easy ( International Labour
Office, 2011 ).
SIGNIFICANCE OF DIVERSITY DURING THE
ECONOMIC DOWNTURN
Vinokur, Van Ryn, Gramlish, and Price (1991) saw a relationship
between the type of people who become unemployed at various periods
of the US economy and its cycles of expansion and contraction. They
determined that, at any given time, the largest segment of the unem-
ployed population, usually 50 65%, consists of workers who have lost
their jobs. Unemployment is an increasingly serious problem for minori-
ties and youth. Their unemployment rates were roughly two to three
times higher than that of the general population in 1994 ( US Department
of Labor, 1994 ). Overall unemployment during the current economic
downturn beginning in 2007 has inflicted a much greater hardship on
youth and on women seeking to return to gainful employment after rais-
ing their children.
Reidenbach and Weller (2010) described how the economic down-
turn that began at the end of 2007 produced enormous difficulties for a
large part of the overall diverse workforce and a greater impact upon spe-
cific groups across the country. The downturn exacerbated longstanding
employment problems for minorities. The labor market became decidedly
more brutal, with job displacement disproportionally affecting African
Americans and Hispanics.
Existing disparities between minorities and white Americans persisted
and expanded during the recent economic downturn. A large part of the
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