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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Discrimination involves treating people differently in the workplace because of some characteristic that is either relevant to their role in organizations (e.g., promoting someone because he or she possesses required knowledge and skill) or irrelevant (e.g., gender, attractiveness). Discrimination based on characteristics that are not relevant to roles in organization is potentially unfair and illegal. This chapter explores a number of potential explanations for unfair discrimination in organizations and highlights the way the need to make decisions under uncertainty increases the likelihood of discrimination. It also explores differences in the perspectives of organizational decision-makers and job applicants and incumbents. It further discusses studies and models of discrimination that suggest the operation of a mix of legitimate and illegitimate causes for workplace discrimination.

Keywords: discrimination, fairness, adverse, impact, disparate, treatment, performance-irrelevant variance, race, gender

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