Discrimination in The Workplace – Part 2


Newsweek dedicated last week’s entire issue to the forgotten souls fighting a crazy, endless war in Iraq — our soldiers.  In one article, the Executive Director and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paul Rieckhoff, discusses how veterans are perceived and treated in the work environment.  He states, “I worry every day that people do not see combat veterans as who we are — brave, committed patriots — but rather as damaged or dangerous.”  He goes on to say that less than 1% of our citizens have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Less than 1%.

These soldiers are clearly a minority and minorities in this country tend to be discriminated upon, both in and out of the workforce. Rieckhoff  quotes polls that say employers don’t know what transferable skills veterans can contribute to the work environment and that more than 11% of veterans who have been deployed since 9/11 are out of work.  “We have to do better,” he says.  

Last week I wrote a piece on age discrimination and hiring.  Of all the posts I’ve written on this blog, I’m most proud of this one.  And the sad part is, it got the least play in the media world. Whereas AboveTheLawDiceMediaBistro and The Ladders blog are apt to pick up pieces I’ve written featuring advice (i.e., the how-to’s on writing a resume, etc.), my ageism post didn’t get any media play.

But, it did NOT fall upon deaf ears. 

The “Ageism” piece was successful in eliciting a number of letters and comments from readers. Some of them, like the one excerpted below, were heart-wrenching.  

I just read your article about Alfred Powers.  …. Thank you for an interesting read….P.S.  I found this to be of huge interest because I’m a 45 year old below knee amputee looking to get back into the workforce somewhere somehow….

I have no idea what the writer’s background is, the type of jobs he is pursuing or how he comes across on an interview, but I do know that his perceptions are very real.  He owns them.

Like Paul Rieckhoff states, “we have to do better.” We have to do better for our aging population, our disabled population, our veterans and anyone else who can’t get a job simply because of what other people “see” vs. hear.

Click on Newsweek to read the article and perhaps we can all try a little harder to be open minded in the hiring process.  

OK, now I’ll get off my soap box.

Carpe diem…


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