Infographic: Workplace discrimination is wrong and bad for business

In light of today’s hearing on Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), it’s worth addressing the argument made by ENDA critics that protecting civil rights is just too gosh-darn expensive and will lead to all sorts of frivolous law suits. One, that’s a pretty indefensible argument, even if ENDA did cost money. Two, discriminating against people based on their sexuality and identification is pretty expensive as this Center for American Progress infographic illustrates. So, ENDA critics, don’t hide behind economic arguments. Just embrace your inner bigot.

Click here for larger size.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted June 13, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    If discrimination is bad for business then why does it keep happening? Is the article implying that businesses are discriminating purposely so they can make less profit? According to this logic, the most profitable companies will have no discrimination and the least profitable will have the most discrimination. This is obviously not true, just look at republican-run business that make tons of money. I support equal rights but discrimination is irrelevant to business profits. Employers will hire who is best for the bottom line, sometimes that will discriminate against certain people. A pro rights group will probably want to hire a gay leader. A baseball team scouting in Central America will probably hire a latino scout. A celebrity will probably hire tall muscular body guards. A wife will probably hire an attractive woman to find out if her husband will cheat. Etc,

    • Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      If discrimination is bad for business then why does it keep happening?

      Two very simple theoretical reasons: 1) the Principal-agent problem, where the interests of (e.g.) a manager and the greater company do not align (e.g., the manager wants to sexually harass or discriminate and does not personally pay the loss of profits that the company suffers) 2) the breakdown of the (by now empirically shown to be fairly inaccurate) assumption that all people make economically rational decisions at all times.

      According to this logic, the most profitable companies will have no discrimination and the least profitable will have the most discrimination.

      This does not logically follow. If you are an engineer, making a vehicle you are designing lighter will make it faster; but the fastest vehicle in the world is not the lightest, nor the slowest the heaviest.

      • Posted June 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        If a manager was hurting business by discriminating he would be removed. UNLESS discrimination doesn’t really hurt the bottom line. There is plenty of discrimination in the work place, I don’t doubt that at all. I question whether that always affects business though. I know sexist construction workers that have an “old boys network” thing going on and they always get huge contracts in San Diego. Female discrimination obviously isn’t affecting their profits. If it did, they would change their ways. You are right Sam, people don’t make economically rational decisions all the time…..top businesses usually do, this is how they become a top business in the first place. This article sounds like it’s desperately trying to tie discrimination to loss of profits in order to get people equal treatment. Good goal but questionable data.

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