March 8, 2008
I’ve thought for years now, as I’ve worked at various places, about the whole “no discrimination in the workplace” deal. Of course this makes sense, because it gives you the right to work for the company you want to work for, no matter your gender, creed, economic background, ethnic background, etc. The ability to buy for yourself, your family and others by working hard and getting paid to do so. But isn’t it kind of backwards to talk about keeping the workplace free of discrimination, but still leave large groups of people treading in deep water? It’s ok for an employer to discriminate against you if you have even one “odd” piercing, one visible tattoo (not an offensive one, mind you), or if you prefer your hair to be pink or blue in color instead of being blond or brunette. I get that consumers don’t want to walk into a store and see some guy (or girl) with a blue Mohawk, a piercing or a tattoo. But isn’t it true to say that by feeding such an opinion is in fact enabling discrimination? It’s like saying, “It’s not ok to look down on or dislike that Jewish woman, but it’s perfectly okay to look down on or dislike that woman with her eyebrow ring”. Like I said, to me it seems backwards for it to be okay to discriminate against one group of people, but be under penalty of breaking the law to discriminate against another group of people. And I’ve heard the arguments about how a tattoo, piercing and hair color/style is a personal choice that one must make. I get that gender (in most cases) and race aren’t personal choices, they’re just who you are born as. But what about creed (or religion)? That’s just as much of a choice as having a blue Mohawk. So would it be okay for an employer to say, “Your religion is your choice, I don’t like your choice and I’m not going to deal with it”. That would be a big resounding NO! It would be illegal for them to make that discriminatory remark and response. So I ask you, what is the difference? Discrimination is Discrimination no matter the reason!