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Empathy Exercise in the American Workplace


In many workplaces, some people are mistreated for the same gender, race, or even cultural differences. This mistreatment results from some senior people discriminating against their juniors by denying them some genuine rights and freedom at work. Devah and Lincoln (2005) defined discrimination as “discrimination involves formally or informally classifying people into different groups and according the members of each group distinct, and typically unequal, treatments, rights and obligations; the criteria delineating the groups, such as gender, race, or class, determine the kind of discrimination”. Those people how are discriminated against suffers psychologically resulting in the workmates being empathetic for them. However, the empathy of workmates may be affected by some prevailing factors. This paper will illustrate an example of a discrimination case that is common in many workplaces.

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Discrimination case

Mrs. Mottu worked at the front desk in a hotel that belonged to Indians. All the other front desk workers were Indian-born as opposed to Mrs. Motto who had an African origin. Mrs. Mottu’s workmates lived in an apartment which she realized that they did not pay any rent. However, the manager of the hotel told Mrs. Mottu that she could not live in the apartment since the rent was not affordable. Additionally, she realized that her fellow workmates were allowed to bring and use their laptops at their workplace while she was denied to do the same. She also realized that she was allocated some extra jobs to do while her workmates were not allocated. For instance, she swept the office, the manager told her to write customers’ complaints since she was the only one fluent in writing English. This disappointed her since she was not given an extra salary despite doing most of the works.

Case analysis

The case of Mrs. Mottu could create empathy in many people who heard it. Empathy is defined as the ability to share feelings for other persons. It was evident that she was discriminated against because she did not belong to the same race as her fellow employees and therefore she had a different culture. The universally accepted standards in workplaces do not allow any form of discrimination at workplaces and call for equal treatment of workers irrespective of any differing factor (Devah & Lincoln, 2005). For the case of Mrs. Mottu, several barriers to empathy could be noted. For instance, she belonged to a different race than the other employees and also her culture was different from the rest. For this reason, these factors resulted in indifferences that made her segregated. Empathy in her fellow workers was therefore limited since they were all united by sharing properties that she did not have. These barriers could be avoided by increased social interactions that could help all the workers realize that they were all equal and there was no need for unequal treatment. On the other hand, Mrs. Mottu could adapt to the situation by failing to show any emotions to whatever that was done to her and instead concentrate more on her work.

Literature review

Discrimination cases are very common especially in America where minority groups are mistreated due to racial differences. The minority groups in America are represented by African Americans, Native Americans, and Alaskan Americans. Davidson & Friedman (1998) noted that “this group has historically experienced slavery, lack of basic human rights and legal protection, misunderstanding, verbal and physical abuse, and even murder”. Researches conducted by many researchers have found out that discrimination in workplaces could be avoided through communication.. Davidson & Friedman (1998) supported this saying, “communication is crucial to the success of any organization, and explanation answers many questions that people ask –why”.

Reference List

Davidson, M. & Friedman, R. (1998). When Excuses Don’t Work: The persistent injustice effect among black managers. Administrative Science Quarterly, 43: (1), 154-183.

Devah, P. & Lincoln, Q. (2005). Walking the Talk: what employers say versus what they do. Sociological Review. 70: (3), 355-380.

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