Is there ever a case for ‘Positive’ discrimination as an acceptable work practice?

There is no law that permits discrimination as an acceptable practice at the workplace. It never contributes to any positive outcome at the workplace but contributes to only negative outcome. The positive aspects of a work practice can be achieved through diversity rather than discrimination. In the case of Bazza’s, Cindy found out that there was an employee who was dismissed from the company because she was considered to be too old. There is nothing positive about dismissing an old person from a job. In fact, the company loses the experience of a person who has worked for the company for such a long time. Choi et al (2001: p. 64) suggest that the law protects employees and job applicants from being discriminated based on age. This indicates that the law prohibits discrimination against age because it does not contribute to any positive outcome for the employee or the applicant.

In terms of diversity, it is clear that an organisation needs to provide equal employment opportunity for all applicants and employees in order to enhance diversity. Employers should include people of different educational, cultural and religious backgrounds. This ensures that employees provide different ideas and opinions at the work place that may be combined to enhance improved job performance. Stone (2013: p. 579) suggests that Australia provides anti-discrimination policies based on multiculturalism and affirmative action in order to promote diversity. This indicates that discrimination is outlawed in Australia because it inhibits workplace diversity.

All the anti-discrimination laws in Australia promote diversity and discourage discrimination. The main Australian legislations on anti-discrimination include Racial Discrimination Act 1975, Sex Discrimination Act 1984, Affirmative Action 1986, Human rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986, Equal Employment Opportunity Act 1987, and Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Stone, 2013: p. 580). These laws discourage discrimination of all forms.

Discrimination against pay whereby some employees are given less contact to customers and paid less amount of money is also illegal and does not give any positive impact on the company. In the US, the Equal Pay Act 1963 requires employers to provide their employees with the same rate of pay regardless of age, gender or ethnic background (Bradbury, 2011: p. 185). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 in the US also prohibited the discrimination of employees in terms of privileges, terms, and conditions of employment (Hamilton, 2013: p. 196). All these laws indicate that there is no ‘positive’ discrimination because discrimination affects the employees or applicants who are the key people in job performance of the organisation.



Bradbury, M.D. Ledbetter v. Goodyear: Circurnscribing Title Vll’s Discrimination Protections. Public Personnel Management, 40(3): 185-192.

Choi, V., Kleiner, K. and Kleiner, B. (2011). New Developments Concerning Age Discrimination in the Workplace. Franklin Business & Law, 1: 63-71.

Hamilton, D.F. McDonnell Douglas and Convincing Mosaics: Toward More Flexible Methods of Proof in Employment Discrimination Cases. Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, 17:195-204.

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