The Disadvantages of Diversity in the Workplace

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With the introduction of diversity to the workplace, sameness disappears. No longer is the workplace a place where "us" and "them" are clearly defined; the jokes change, more than one language is heard in offices, you can't tell the secretary from the manager by their sex, ramps for the physically challenged become an expensive "norm" as does a requirement to behave with decorum in "mixed company."

The Divisiveness of Diversity

  • Diversity in the workplace implies influences other than those that may be cherished by management and supervision. These influences might be racial, ethnic, related to the physical challenges faced by a single worker, or social influences, like language or membership in certain organizations. These group influences can create a sense of "community" among group members--a concept about which even sociologists can't agree, save for the fact that a community must be self-aware. That self-awareness, when it means workers who are "different" might band together into a "community" within the workplace, can lead to a loss of management control in the single-minded pursuit of the company's objectives.

    Diversity in the workplace also requires compliance with the State and Federal Civil Rights Acts, in all their forms. Additionally, physically challenged individuals may demand compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which quickly raises the costs related to both Federal fines and the cost of revamping office facilities for compliance.

Sex-Related Diversity

  • Where the workforce is made up of persons of more than one sex, the company will be forced to provide sanitary facilities both male and female workers, raising the costs of facilities maintenance and construction. Having workers of more than one sex also means that, should workers of the opposite sex choose to engage in sexual relationships or, should a member of management attempt to engage in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, the potential for legal action under the various State and Federal laws concerning sexual harassment increases. Sexual diversity also brings the potential for legal action concerning the idea of equal pay for equal work.

Impaired Freedom of Speech

  • Where diversity in the workplace exists, freedom of speech cannot be a free-for-all. Workers who were once a homogeneous band of same-believing, same-thinking folk, happily telling jokes that skewered other racial or ethnic groups, members of the opposite sex, physically-challenged people, people past an arbitrarily determined age, the mentally challenged, or those whose sexual orientation was not the same as that admitted to by the members of the workforce, are now forced to quell their riotous exercise of the First Amendment Rights, in the name of diversity.

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