The Different Impacts Diversity Has on an Individual

1181 Words5 Pages
The Different Impacts Diversity Has on an Individual

Diversity refers to the presence of individual human characteristics that make people different from one another (Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn, 2005). Among these individual human characteristics are demographic differences, such as age, gender, sexual-orientation, ablebodiedness, race and ethnicity, and religion. Diversity and demographic differences can impact individual behavior by creating discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices in the work place. The differences that impact individual behavior the most are age, gender, sexual-orientation, and race and ethnicity.

Age Differences

Ages in the workplace can vary from as young as 16 to ages over 60 years old. This vast range of age differences within the workplace can create discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices among individuals. Such stereotypes and prejudices come from the misperception that as people age, their skills, ablebodiedness, and thought processing deteriorates and they are in turn unable to complete their work as effectively and efficiently as their younger counterparts.

According to the United States’ government site for equal opportunity,, setting age limits for employment has become common practice among employers. People over the age of 40 years are at the highest risk of age discrimination, but people of all ages can be victims of age discrimination. The government has created several acts, in which age discrimination is unlawful and not tolerated. In 1967, Congress created the Age Discrimination Act (ADEA), protecting individuals over 40 years old against age discrimination. This act protects both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, “it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age, with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment—including, but not limited to hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training” (ADEA, 1967).

Two other acts that protect individuals from age discrimination are the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (ADA) and Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA). The ADA protects individuals of all ages from discrimination when applying for programs and actitivities that receive federal financial assistance, and the WIA protects against age discriminatio...

... middle of paper ...

...dments to the Constitution, anti-discrimination acts, and civil rights’ movements--discrimination still exists. Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American women to win a seat in the United States Congress, once said, “In the end antiblack, antifemale, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing - antihumanism.”


American Psychological Association. “Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality.” Retrieved on April 5, 2005 from:

Fix, Michael E. and Margery Austin Turner (1998) The Role of Testing a National Report Card on Discrimination in America. Retrieved on April 5, 2005 from:

Orfield, Gary and Susan Eaton. 1996. Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown vs. Board of Education. New York: The New Press.

Schermerhorn, John R., James G. Hunt and Richard N. Osborn (2003). Organizational Behavior, Chapter 4. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Retrieved on April 5, 2005 from:
Open Document