Discrimination and Prejudice between Employees.

Favouritism and nepotism that some managements show towards some of its employees is a well documented predicament that seems to also exist in organizations worldwide.

I have been working for three years during which I have noticed that our management have been showing bias towards one of its employees. Although all of us working within the same department show greater competency and working skills than this employee, it has become evident that the driving force behind this prejudice was the employee's known connection and relationship with company's CEO. At the beginning I thought that the management's main concern would be the company's interests, but with time I realized that this was not really important since this employee have been perpetrating all sorts of misdemeanours that should have placed him under investigation years before I was employed. I am confident today that the management is aware of this employee's working performance as well as attitude problems but have decided not to address the issue because of this employee's connections.

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The problem has detonated now that this employee have been assigned as a deputy during the annual leave of the department's head, which results in placing the whole department in a state of misfortune and anxiety because we know that during this period we will be faced with waves of work abuse and unjust conducts. My colleagues as well as I know for sure that we cannot do anything and are now left with the desperate wish that this employee will one day commit a huge felony that will give the higher management no other option but to terminate him.

If you think that this problem can be solved otherwise, please feel free to share with me your ideas and solutions.


Prejudice is an unfavourable opinion or feelings formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason; as an old saying suggest: “It is not what you know it is who you know”.

It is really an unethical behaviour to humanity, as it encourages many pragmatics or Machiavellian to be inleading management positions.

The problem is caused by two issues:

a. Ingratiation: exchanging favours for supervisors or co-workers.

b. Lack of an effective, fair and clear performance evaluation system and unfortunately the current performance evaluation is quite subjective with no measurable criteria.

This phenomenon keeps the safety of the patients at risk since inexperienced and unqualified health care providers are promoted.

Conclusion of the possible solutions:

1. A proper policy and procedure which match the mission, vision and goals of the organization must be established which will identify various tasks which will include the standard operational procedures of each assignment.

2. Favouritism and nepotism policy need to be issued to identify such practices and how to control and keep it under observation (e.g. of such policy you can be found on the following link: http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/administration/adminandfinance/Human/HRPPs/FSU-HRPP0419NepotismAndFavoritism.pdf ).

3. Keeping every thing written and documented and to act in a very professional way with this person not to allow him to deal with any employee in a personal way.

4. Communicating what is happeningsupported by strong data to higher authority which my CEO report to.

5. Continue on what I am doing and let the nature take its course.

6. The final solution they all suggest me is to change my workplace, but am not sure that I will not face the same situation again, as it is a wide spread phenomenon all over the world.

My Responses to my colleagues:

1. Can we reach Japanese quality?

Yes, our society can reach Japanese quality system, if they can start form zero why not we?? It is never too late for abright beginning.
Still we canintroduce new rulesand improve the current rules in our schools andcompanies based on teamwork, harmony and consensus building.

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If we want the employees contribute meaningfully to the corporation we should create conditions in which the employees feel themselves valued, and I think this is one of the secrets behind Japanese success.

2. Abuse sick leave system:

It's a nice topic Dr. Khaled, because this is one of the most annoying issues we are facing in our current work environment, here are some solutions which may work to detect and control this phenomenon:

  1. Working in small groups and communicating absence rates to employees on notice boards.
  2. Interviewing employees after every absence, irrespective of length.
  3. Encourage the employees to account unusual activity, including unexplained changes in the lifestyle of their colleagues.
  4. Providing stress-free working environment.
  5. Challenge doctors who issue certificates too readily, even if they are not fraudulent.
  6. Check the employees' sick leave record, if there is a trend of intermittent absences; we have to look for the illness reasons, and then the employee should undergo a medical evaluation to establish whether undiagnosed medical condition is at the root of the problem.
  7. Limit the sick leave days, if the sick leave entitlements have been exceeded then the employee should be advised that further absences will not be paid, even if a sick certificate is produced.

3. Communication and conflict. How strong is the relation?

Notall conflictis bad; conflict focused on solving real problems can result in better solution or in creative solution.

Language barrier is not the only cause of poor communication; there are some more barriers like:Physical barriers, Attitude barriers,Psychological factors, Physiological barriers andPoor leadership.

Here are some keys to successful work place communication:

  1. Personal contact is essential. People communicate to one another better when they can gather and read each other's body language. If personal contact is not possible, the next best way to connect is by talking on the phone.
  2. Expand the network. No one can achieve success by himself. Make an endeavour to become friends with individuals in different departments within your company, and look for experiences or interests common between you.
  3. Always be polite in your communications with others. politeness lets people know that you care.
  4. Be reliable and clear in your workplace infrastructure. Reliability builds trust. Asking, “Did I describe this clearly?” will declare that people understand what you said.
  5. Compromise reduces the tension coupled with conflict. Ask, “What is best for the company?” so that co-workers will not get the conflict personally.
  6. You cannot grasp one's interest if you have nothing interesting to say.
  7. Listen carefully to what others are discussing and show interest in the discussion. Listening reveals respect and admiration.

Reference: Top 7 keys to successful work place communication. By Harriet Heyerson.

4. What is unique about stress in the UAE Healthcare Workplace?

Each workplace has stressors and each healthcare enviroment has its out workplace stressors. I would like to initiate a discussion on the causes of stress that a unique to the UAE healthcare environment.

5. Do we need "outsiders" to solve the passive aggressiveness in our hospitals?

Thanks Dr. Ashraf for raising such an important issue for discussion.

I do agree that we may need outside expertise but as my colleagues mentioned, we need them just for a limited period of time, because I strongly believe that we have highly qualified people in managerial and in health areas, who are much more qualified than an outside expertise,but some of them may lack experience or knowledge which can be easily obtained from these expertise in a limited period of time, or by doing further Studies or training in the required Fields which will be more appropriate than changing the whole organization and giving the authority to someone who knows nothing about our cultures and traditions.

6. Leaders are not equal to managers!

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"Management is getting work done through others. Leadership is taking people where they have not been but need to go."

Don Roberts, Human Capital Advisory Services, Deloitte and Touche.

Leaders are the ones who innovate, investigate, focus on people, inspire the trust and face the challenges. So in my view our current health care organization needs leaders rather than managers.

I see my self in a leader position becauseI want to create or change the culture of the organization, but not as a managerwho works withinthe culture of the organization.

7. Enforcing discipline in the workplace

Enforcing discipline in the workplace is essential for any organization to grow and to achieve a good outcome. Discipline in the workplace eliminates the employee negative behaviour. The purpose of discipline enforcement is not to punish the employee, but to assist the employee to become a productive member in the organization it also helps the employee to understand his wrong behaviour.

8. Solution to all work problems.

I agree with you dear Aisha, of course our holy book (The Qur'an) brought for us solutions for all our problems and guidance for our daily life matters.

Depending on the Islamic basics and culture we can solve all our work, one of my colleagues asked how can we deal with co-workers who reject our beliefs, my answer to her is Islam is the religion of ease and we never oblige anybody to follow it, they are free to choose the way they want to follow, all what we can do is to show them our way and then they are free to decide whether to follow or not.

Some of the basic concepts which we need to apply in our workplace are:

1. Honesty

2. Secretariat

3. Faith

4. Hard working with perfection

5. Sincerity

6. Punctuality

And Islam urges us to follow all these.

9. Leader emotional intelligent

From my work experience; I do agree with youthat leaders' emotions and mood have a direct impact on followers' mood and consequently on their productivity and level of engagement. This happens because leaders transmit their good or bad mood to their employees throughthe mechanism of Emotional Contagion (The tendency to catch and feel emotions that are similar to and influenced by those of others)(1).

In Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, Goleman states that roughly 50-70% of how employees perceive their organization's climate is attributable to the actions and behaviours of their leader.

So the effective leader should have Emotional Intelligence(The ability to understand and manage moods and emotions in the self and others)(2), because leadership is about being responsible.


(1) Sy, T. & Cote, S & Saavedra R. 2005. The contagious leader: Impact of the leader's mood on the mood of group members, group affective tone, and group processes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(2): pp. 295-305. http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/~scote/SyetalJAP.pd

(2) George J.M. 2006. Leader Positive Mood and Group Performance: The Case of Customer Service. Journal of Applied Social Psychology:25(9) pp. 778 - 794‏

10. Job satisfaction

Staff empowerment is the way to improve workers' job satisfaction and to make an organization more effective.

Here are some points describing how empowerment can make a change in workplace.

1. Motivation: by motivating staff through the type of work, economic circumstances and the nature of the human being.

2. Responsibility: One way to appeal to people's temperament is to give them responsibility; because they appreciate being trusted and repay this with hard work and positive attitude.

3. Flexibility: Empowering the staff creates flexibility within a work place as they can use the initiative and do their jobs more quickly.

4. Innovation: Empowered staff not only recognizes work needs but also introduces new practices and ideas.

5. Problem solving: Empowered staff will be welling to solve work problems by themselves.

For more details you can refer to: