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include unfair compensation and advancement, will vary from one com-
pany to another, the overall effect of discrimination is to diminish many
opportunities for the workforce in general. External barriers also continue
to restrict the opportunities of diverse groups of workers. These barriers
may include stereotyping and prejudice, lack of career support, or inade-
quate skill preparation. Barriers that affect employers, such as the down-
turn in the US and global economy, can also be detrimental to the
advancement of a diverse group of workers. Internal barriers often
emerge as a result of the occurrence of external barriers, and both types
of barrier can negatively affect each other ( Blank & Slipp, 1994 ).
The social cost of workplace discrimination can occur as a result of
unfair hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, or compensation.
Discrimination can create social costs that are not only monetary but
often have other serious consequences. Employees sometimes suffer retali-
ation for opposing workplace discrimination or reporting violations to
authorities. Social cost can be related to employment discrimination that
might occur intentionally or unintentionally due to prejudice or igno-
rance. Gender discrimination, a subset of sex discrimination, refers to
behaviors that are considered appropriate or inappropriate, depending on
whether a person is male or female. Gender discrimination may be non-
sexual in the workplace, but is directed at expected roles that are associ-
ated with masculinity by employers. In the workplace women often bear
the cost of being placed into submissive roles and encouraged not to
question the privileges of male counterparts.
An example of the cost of discrimination is when an employer might
ask whether an employment candidate is married or plans to have chil-
dren. Refusing to hire a man in what is defined as a “woman's job” or
vice versa is another example. Income levels vary by gender and race,
with women's median income levels considerably below the national
median for men with similar skills, training, and qualifications. Women
often must consider factors other than salary, such as childcare, when
looking for employment. On average, women are less willing or able to
travel and relocate. Women are also more likely to work for government
or non-profit organizations that pay less than the private sector.
As a result of discrimination in the workplace, ethnic and racial
minorities, women, and other groups receive relatively fewer promotions
and opportunities for economic advancement. Women are sometimes
described as reaching the “glass ceiling,” or simply being prevented from
reaching certain heights on the occupational ladder. In regards to racial
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