Is discrimination (in hiring) morally wrong?


Discrimination: “the act of making or perceiving a difference.” - Merriam-Webster

Who could have a problem with that? Wouldn’t non-discriminatory hiring be analogous to simply throwing a dart at a board?


Discrimination isn’t wrong. Discrimination on the basis of non-pertinent characteristics is wrong.


But sometimes the State decides something is not pertinent, but the State doesn’t have to work with that person on a daily basis.

For instance, a manager might discriminate against a pretty woman because he knows the guys would never do their work with her walking around there.

I think most employers believe you should never make it look like you’re discriminating, but you must discriminate all the same.

I don’t do any hiring, but if I did, I wouldn’t hire feminists because I’d hear nothing but bellyaching and complaining. Anything on their resume that suggests they were in a women’s studies course would disqualify them.


Hey, some of us have repented of our evil ways and become Catholic :slight_smile: but the work might remain on the resume :frowning:


I’m not sure who, or where, your employer is. But here you’d be out of the door for that! You can’t seriously think that an employer should be able to not employ attractive women (maybe in the situation you give as an example the employer should discipline the inappropriate sexist male workers?). And then to say you would not employ a woman who’d studied feminism or women’s studies because she might moan too much! (She’d probably be moaning about your organisation’s policy on employing attractive women). Seriously?


Yes. It would be okay to discriminate in favour of those with relevant employment history, or good relevent qualifications. But not because of irrelevant skin colour for example.


Non-discrimination doesn’t mean you hire anyone who walks in the door. It means hiring the most qualified person, regardless of race, gender, age, religion, etc.


Yes it is usually wrong to discriminate against an individual on the basis of an irrelevant characteristic. However, it is not morally wrong if the employer discriminates in order to achieve a legitimate business need; and there should also be protections for religious organisations.


It’s ok to not hire a fat person for a personal trainer job because that person is fat.
However it’s not ok to discriminate a fat person for a secretary job.

It’s ok not to hire a non Catholic for a Catholic newspaper editor job because that person is not catholic.
However it’s not ok to discriminate a nonCatholic for a waitress job.


And that would be invidious discrimination. The stereotype you describe is akin to an atheist not hiring Catholics because she thinks they are unintelligent. By all means, don’t hire whiners. But don’t assume that someone is a whiner without relevant evidence.


Would that justify a restaurant preferring a white waitress because the men in town prefer blondes?


2 For if there come unto your assembly
a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel,
and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him
that weareth the gay clothing,
and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place;
and say to the poor, Stand thou - there,
or sit here under - my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves,
and are become judges of evil thoughts?


UK law makes a distinction between direct and indirect discrimination. Indirect discrimination refers to a job specification that appears neutral on its face but disproportionately disadvantages a protected group of people.

The defence of justification applies to indirect discrimination. This means that an employer is allowed to have a job requirement that indirectly discriminates against a protected group if the employer’s business has a real economic need - and profit by itself is not sufficient. Furthermore the requirement must be a proportionate means of achieving the legitimate aim. The example you provided would be unlikely to succeed because it is hard to justify a racial requirement as a legitimate business need.


If you discriminate in a way that has nothing to do with the qualifications for the job, you’re stealing from the people you discriminate against.


I have to say though in real life it’s often quite tricky.
The work situation may need a lot of teamwork and a coherent group of workers. If the existing workers have to formed a culture, is it then discriminatory to not hire a person because the person has a culture directly opposite or doesn’t fit it which will then affect the productivity/ team work?


There’s another side to that, though.

If you’re hiring employees who are going to be dealing with the public, you want someone who’s presentable.

If you’re hiring people for a public accounting firm, where your accountants are going to be meeting with bankers and other business professionals, you want someone who comes to the interview in a dress suit and dress shoes. You don’t want someone dressed in rags.

That’s not a value judgment against someone who can only afford rags; that’s a business necessity.


Discrimination in itself is not wrong. It has been used wrongly, but it in itself isn’t wrong. God discriminates the criteria for holiness.


So what about age discrimination?


This is true. Discrimination isn’t wrong per se. Nobody has a right to employment; and no employer must be forced to accept an unwanted employee. But the reasons for discrimination must be just and fair.


Depends on what basis you’re establishing for discriminating. Only interviewing engineers and not lawyers for a job designing a bridge is sensible and in fact mandated by law. Only interviewing male engineers and not female engineers just because they’re female? Yeah that’s morally wrong.

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