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About this book

The book presents a critical framework for assessing whether organisational practice and function reinforces unseen potential differences amongst individuals in the workplace. It offers a comprehensive understanding and awareness of managerial and organisational practices that perpetuate social exclusion and discrimination towards individuals in the workplace. The book draws together themes of non-declared medical or physical conditions, voluntary and involuntary disclosure of difference, dietary requirements, lifestyle, organisational engagement and cognitive bias. As a result, the book provides a unique blend of scholarly and professional research, and brings those who have been affected by social stigmas and discrimination in the workplace to the fore. Hidden Inequalities in the Workplace also offers practical and strategic insights for practitioners, students and policy-makers, and delves the strategic nature of policy intervention and thought-provoking dialogue

Table of Contents


1. Introduction to ‘Hidden’ Inequalities in the Workplace

This chapter aims to discuss the key elements of the book and highlight the main areas for investigation. It provides an assessment on the meaning of ‘hidden’ inequality in the workplace and evaluates the key dimensions of equality and diversity in modern organisations. The chapter explores further the role of legal expectations in managing organisational needs and provides a review of the book’s structure, objectives and context.
Stefanos Nachmias, Valerie Caven

2. The Challenges and Social Impact of Coeliac Disease in the Workplace

Food is an integral part of organisational life; it is used as a morale booster, as a reward, to build team spirit, and as a conduit for networking. It is such a central aspect of work that for most, it is taken for granted. However, for employees who suffer from coeliac disease, the social, psychological and symbolic role of food can cause isolation and exclusion from organisational settings. Thus, they may be stigmatised and experience discriminatory practices which impact on their equal treatment and dignity within the workplace. This chapter explores the personal experiences of coeliac sufferers at work; the extent of discrimination they experience; and, what, if any, areas of good practice exist which assist the management of the condition.
Valerie Caven, Stefanos Nachmias

3. The ‘A’ Word in Employment: Considerations of Asperger’s Syndrome for HR Specialists

This chapter reports the findings from an investigation exploring the hidden inequalities that employees with Asperger Syndrome experience in the workplace, providing new knowledge for those concerned with diversity and inclusion including HR specialists and line managers. Rich descriptions of AS characteristics raise awareness of how skills can be best utilised and accommodated and how at the same time these characteristics can also create hidden inequalities. These discussions also seek to build some confidence in AS individuals that their unique blend of skills is valuable in contemporary organisations and in roles which hitherto neither they nor HR specialists may have considered. 
Anne Cockayne

4. Conflicts and Challenges of Gender in the Workplace: The Police Service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The chapter offers a unique insight into the challenges faced by female police officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where organisational culture, customs and practice, policies, systems and processes can negatively impact upon the opportunities for development and progression based upon gender. Socially constructed paradigms relating to the acceptance or rejection of a gender neutral society equally exert pressures that are not so overtly evident in other occupations. This work explores how the importance of establishing strong networks and mentors can enable women in policing to attain success and recognition. The under-representation of senior women in the service continues to be problematic with women citing a lack of self-efficacy combined with poor access to mentors resulting in them either facing isolation as their careers progress or an apathetic approach to promotion. Although there have been recent attempts by policy makers and government to address the under-representation of women entering the service, unless a structured and sustainable mentoring scheme is adopted to enable women to gain promotion within it, the service will continue to disadvantage females disproportionately.
Janet Astley

5. The Quality of Work Among Older Workers

Lawton and Wheatley contribute to understanding of patterns of work among older adults and, in particular, the quality of work they encounter. Older adults face increasing uncertainty in their economic and social lives due to changes in economic and welfare policies, while at the same time governments are promoting the benefits of extended working lives. This chapter explores the patterns of employment and reports on the variable quality of work among older adults , using UK data from the Annual Population Survey, Labour Force Survey and Understanding Society. Two-step cluster analysis and multinomial logistic regression suggest that working into later life predominantly reflects choice. However, the quality of work varies considerably and an important minority of older adults are constrained into working in low-quality jobs.
Christopher Lawton, Daniel Wheatley

6. Flexible Working: Are We Ready for This?

This chapter reviews studies in flexible working arrangements and examines ‘hidden’ inequalities associated with gender, class location, career advancement and family status in relation to the practice of work flexibility in workplaces. Implications drawn from the review suggest that for HR managers and practitioners are organisations offering flexible working arrangements and must recognise and address ‘hidden’ inequalities and discriminations against those who use them and protect employees from retaliatory treatment. Employers need to explore new management initiatives to fully embrace the work-life balance value and facilitate its operation across the workforce regardless of differences in gender, occupations, care responsibilities or family status.
Ning Wu

7. LGBT+ Participation in Sports: ‘Invisible’ Participants, ‘Hidden’ Spaces of Exclusion

Noting that LGBT+ participants remain relatively ‘invisible’ within sports activities compared to the rest of society, this chapter examines the organisational and cultural reasons for this marginalisation and exclusion. In contrast to visible narratives of inclusivity, these reasons are located in ‘hidden’, cultural depths within sports organisations. Drawing on the works of Judith Butler and Henri Lefebvre, this chapter describes such cultures as heterogeneous and specific to the context of individual sports spaces, such as locker rooms and stadia, rather than as being a uniform phenomenon across the entirety of sports. This spatially contextual nature of LGBT+ marginalisation leaves it ‘hidden’ and difficult to challenge without intervening in these actual spaces where such marginalisation is created and experienced. LGBT+-specific sports groups are examined as counterpaces which not only promote LGBT+ visibility but also have their own normative dynamics that hide some expressions of identity within the LGBT+ spectrum.
Scott Lawley

8. Gender Differences in Paid and Unpaid Work

Wheatley, Lawton and Hardill evidence the gendered nature of patterns of paid and unpaid work in advanced societies from a life-course perspective, using data from the UK. Despite a whole raft of social legislation, labour market participation remains highly gendered. Patterns of paid work have become increasingly diverse and flexible with a growth in precarious and gig work, especially among younger and older adults. While overall participation in paid work may be converging among men and women, most men still engage in full-time employment (or self-employment) for the majority of the life course, while over 40% of women report part-time work. The need to undertake unpaid work, including housework, childcare (parenting and grandparenting) and ill/elderly care, remains a particular constraint to women’s participation in paid work.
Daniel Wheatley, Christopher Lawton, Irene Hardill

9. Cognitive Biases in Recruitment, Selection, and Promotion: The Risk of Subconscious Discrimination

This chapter reviews the extant literature regarding the existence of implicit bias in key selection, recruitment, and promotion decision-making processes. It includes an analysis of the impact of stereotyping on screening of resumes, in-group bias in interviews, the impact of stereotype threat on candidate performance, and interviewer confirmation bias. This substantial body of evidence suggests that to tackle discrimination caused by implicit bias in the modern workplace, a different approach is needed. These subtler, deeper routed forms of discrimination require subtler and deeper-routed interventions. Instead of attempting to ‘outlaw’ implicit bias, its motivational underpinning must be addressed, along with the cultural factors, which may trigger or maintain the beliefs and attitudes underpinning the bias.
Zara Whysall

10. Men and Gay Identity in the Workplace

This chapter explores the way gay men manage their identity in the workplace since the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation as well as more liberal public attitudes towards homosexuality. The chapter explores the ways gay men challenge, negotiate and conform in the two-way process of managing their identities. Data were gathered from 45 semi-structured in-depth interviews with self-identified gay men in a wide range of occupations and ages working in a seaside resort on the South Coast of England. Gay men adopted a range of strategies in how they managed their identity and dealt with discrimination, from confrontation to conformity.
Simon Roberts

11. Examining the Relationship Between Discrimination and Disengagement

The MacLeod Review (2009) propelled the concept of employee engagement into the consciousness of organisations globally. Findings from the review highlighted the positive links between employee engagement and organisational outcomes. The review also emphasised the high number of disengaged employees working in the UK. Although the issue of disengagement is clearly a significant problem, we know little about what factors lead to disengagement. Exploring this issue, the chapter examines the literature on disengagement and perceptions of discrimination and incivility, and considers the role the line manager plays in this equation.
Sarah Pass

12. Hidden Inequalities of the Expatriate Workforce

This chapter explores the challenges faced by organisations trying to maintain host-country compliance while promoting equality of the Expatriate Workforce. While there is a multitude of different types of migrant worker, and each type faces their own ‘hidden’ inequalities within the global workplace, the focus of this chapter is on expatriate workers. As the number of expatriate workers around the world increases, so does the complexity of ‘hidden’ inequalities as the equality and diversity issues in each country are different. Organisations face conflict when trying to maintain equality of opportunity, which is enforced through legislative frameworks in the home country where no such framework exists in the host country. Coupled with contradictory measures such as nationalisation programmes and a duty of care towards individuals whose protected characteristics may be ostracised in certain regions, the need to navigate such murky waters is becoming ever more apparent. This chapter draws on real-life case examples from organisations operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a notoriously expatriate-reliant region, as the volume of expatriate workers leads to such issues being exacerbated.
Maranda Ridgway

13. Concluding Assessment to Address ‘Hidden’ Inequalities in the Workplace

This chapter aims to highlight key findings that emerged from the book and identify a number of implications for individuals, policymakers and organisations. It seeks to identify areas for exploration and give space for further debate and evaluation in addressing ‘hidden’ inequality in the workplace.
Valerie Caven, Stefanos Nachmias


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