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The Labor Market Discrimination Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 3823 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In this paper I talked about the discrimination in the labor market and how it is specified in the market of Croatia. Discrimination in the labor market is much easier to define than to identify. There is no information about when the discrimination in the labor market in history. History has recorded some certain phenomena that could be characterized as the first rudiments of discrimination in the labor market. Croatia is a country which is heading to be a member of the European Union and it has tasks and regulations that need to be fulfilled. One of these is the elimination or preventing of discrimination in the labor market. In this paper I have discussed about the major issues and how the Croatian government handled it.

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Equality of treatment can be expressed arithmetically, which means that each worker is in proportion with equal conditions. The principle of equality and non-discrimination is determined by the moral values ​​and social policies, which were adopted by the legislature or judiciary. The value of the corpus of the founding principle of equality and non-discrimination variable as a function of the potential conflicts that may arise between the selected values, and other values ​​that can be decided by policymakers or judges in their judgments, which in turn is a function of the social movement.

The concept of equality and non-discrimination supposed to ban all discrimination, separation, or preference in employment regardless on the basis of unequal treatment. The most common places for discrimination that are mentioned in the regulations are: race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, nationality, social origin, while the other basics, such as age, disability, family commitments, personal life, place of birth, sexual orientation, marital status, motherhood, physical and mental health status, medical history, physical appearance, membership in the union organization, etc., may be added after consultation of workers’ and employers. The doctrine of equal treatment and non-discrimination in employment has found its way into numerous international regulations and is recognized as a law in many national constitutions. In Europe the modern labor law occurs with the advent of industrialization in which the relationship between labors law typical is the male worker. The time in which a woman is for the first time more equal in the labor market entrants with the time of recognition of the right for women to vote in the early twentieth century (Machado, José A. F. and José Mata, 2005). [1] Employers within their prerogative used the freedom to discriminate against workers based on just sex, pregnancy and maternity. Given the dating of activities were undertaken for the subject of equalization of women with men in the job market is considered that the issue of gender discrimination in employment and occupation is the oldest, most comprehensive and most elaborated part of European labor law which was used in the design and development of a number of important principles and strategies as What is the principle of proportionality in terms of indirect discrimination, the principle of effectiveness, transparency principle, the principle of effective judicial protection, etc. The new legal regulation that was presented 1999 regarding discrimination in employment, but on other grounds other than sex, is largely based on the concepts and techniques developed for the legal right of discrimination based on sex.

Literature review

Discrimination is a distinction. Equality of all people is one of the basic human rights of non-discrimination requirements. Modern law protects privileged principle of non-discrimination policy that prohibits interference or damage to individuals or groups because of their race, nationality, religion, disability, social or marital status.

One of the fundamental principles in any civilized society is the principle of equality, which confirms the view that all people are equal in rights and equal worth, dignified treatment, regardless of their mutual differences on the basis of innate or acquired personal characteristics. Therefore, any treatment of individuals that because of these differences made ​​his exclusion and / or limitation, and it is in this way that endangers or prevents the realization of social rights or giving him precedence over other persons excluding and / or limiting the time the latter in exercising their social rights constitute discrimination, which is also a violation of the dignity of the person. The principle of equality of opportunity and treatment is an integral part of the right to work in a broader sense. Discrimination in the workplace and related work occurs very frequently and is difficult to control because the interest behind is the world’s capital due to gain economic benefits.

Labor market discrimination

Wage discrimination occurs when certain races, minorities and women receive the same job for lower wages than majority of workers. Therefore, the difference in wage rate is not due to differences in productivity, but in the characteristics of workers. This type of discrimination in the labor market can be very subtle and it is very difficult to detect. Discrimination in employment occurs when the majority of the unemployed are concentrated among minority groups, thus discriminating against minority groups of different races; religions, etc. Discrimination of human capital occurs if the education and training of certain races or minorities invest less money than in the education and training of the majority race.

This is, unfortunately, a circular process. In fact, many of the unemployed who are not members of the dominant race are poor because of their lack of education, and considering that the poor cannot finance education. Discrimination towards professions or businesses, if there, is limited or prohibited access to minority groups of workers preferred or better paying jobs, so they are focused on the poorer or lower paying occupations. It is important to note that the wage discrimination, discrimination in employment and discrimination by occupation called a post market or direct discrimination, as reflected by the entry into the labor market. Discrimination of human capital is called the pre-market or indirect discrimination, because it happens before entering the labor market (Baumol Blinder, 1994). [2] 

Workers should regularly invest a part of their personal income in various forms of education and training, to help them in the future to bring more income. If workers adhere to that principle, the market rewards them in the future with a higher wage. Nowadays, more and more employers invest in continuous training and education of its employees. Workers with more work experience have higher wages. More work experience also brings many other advantages. Thus, we conclude that the difference in wage rate may not be entirely the result of discrimination, but partly influenced by the non-discriminatory factors. All the studies that have tried to distinguish the differences in wages, which are the result of measurable characteristics than the differences are the result of discrimination. Three quarters of half the gap between the wages of men and women, blacks and whites, can be explained by differences in education and work experience. (Nestic, 2010). [3] That leaves the possibility that a quarter to a half of this gap can be explained with immeasurable discrimination and other sources.

Measures of anti-discrimination policies

Western countries attach great importance to discrimination in the labor market, and it was always the center of interest and researches. First of all, discrimination in the labor market affects the distribution of reduced national income. Since it reduces the fundamental macroeconomic variables, it is of interest, not only in economics but also in politics. All these governments of the developed countries of the West, after the Second World War, practiced a few ways to prevent discrimination in the labor market.

Improving education and training of workers discriminated groups conducted in qualitative and quantitative dimensions, in order to prevent this form of pre-market or indirect discrimination. Specifically, a group of workers who do not have adequate education and employment are placed in a worse position. Application of appropriate monetary and fiscal policy is necessary in order to achieve a coherent labor market, because it allows curbing discrimination. The third measure is the only direct measure of anti-discrimination policy. It is a well-established law that prohibits employment practices. So, back in 1963 the United States adopted the Law on Equal Rights. According to this law, men and women who perform equal work, and have the same abilities and responsibilities in similar conditions, should receive equal wages. Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the basis underlying the overall anti-discrimination policy of the USA. This law does not take into account only the wages, but prohibits all forms of discrimination in employment for example, with regard to occupations, etc. (Pastore, Francesco and Alina Verashchagina, 2007). [4] 

Finally, it should be mentioned the concept of values, which occurs in the 1980s. The whole concept is based on the theory that jobs with comparable values ​​should be paid equally, and all the opposite of that would be discrimination. The concept of comparable value claims that wages should be based on what the job is worth. The method is applied for evaluation and scoring performance. Major difficulties in the application of this concept are: Different characteristics represent a different value for each employer; the use of credits in order to predict the value of employees is baseless and the application of this concept would lead to an increase in the number of industrial workers in some occupations.

This concept argues that companies uses, i.e. equalization of wages for jobs that have comparable overall performance could stop the decades of discrimination and eliminate the wage gap between women and men.

Open Croatian legislation

The labor market is an essential segment of the social and economic system that has to experience radical reforms in order to fully comply with the labor legislation of the Western countries, especially the EU labor legislation. In the Republic of Croatia in the early 1990s was designed a new legal framework of labor relations. The adoption of the Law of work, for the modern Croatia, received a general regulation of labor relations, who responded with the requirements established by the labor market supply and demand. This law is somewhat harmonized system of industrial relations in Croatia with those that exist in the EU. Croatian labor legislation is based, with the adoption of international standards, on the achievement of constitutional social rights, primarily the right to work, and the autonomy of the social partners to regulate their relations. Labor law is systematically defined as the basic minimum rights in employment. The last amendments have implemented detailed compliance with EU labor legislation. Partly reflect the tendency of modernization and democratization of labor relations. As such, we can observe the expansion of non-discrimination in employment (specifically in terms of wages), in particular the prohibition of harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace, and the introduction of procedures to protect the dignity of workers (Igor Grabovac, Marija Abramović, Gordana Komlenović, Jadranka Mustajbegović, 2011) [5] . The Act governs the whole matter in a new way of non-discrimination of persons seeking employment and for employees. It will in the future affect the advancement of women in the labor market because they are more often exposed to discrimination.

The act is prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination against persons seeking employment or employed person (employee, officer or other employee) on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, family responsibilities, marital status, property, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, social status, birth, membership or non-membership in a political party, membership or non-membership in the union, and physical or mental impairments.

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The Act defines direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination is any action based on any of the grounds referred whereby a person is seeking employment and worker puts or has been treated or could be put in a worse position than another in a comparable situation. Indirect discrimination happens when an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice, a person seeking employment and workers due to its specific characteristics, status, orientation, beliefs or value systems that form the basis for the prohibition of discrimination referred to put at a disadvantage in relation to other people.

Discrimination and the position of women in employment

Throughout history, it has become clear that women were more frequently employed in those areas where they were not willing to hire. It is evident that women are employed in the areas and sectors of the economy that are technologically backward, with low productivity, low incomes and often harsh environment. Significant progress in this area does not even have the newer, more modern and democratic era. It is often said that the newly developed technologies provide greater employment opportunities for women. Data suggest that in those economically developed areas, women’s employment reaches or even surpasses some European countries. The constant development of the economy gradually changes the division of labor by sex and so formally opens wider opportunities for women’s employment. But there is the issue of the extent to which women can take advantage of it, because their employment is dependent on their qualification, education, professionalism and other structures.

Despite the progress being made in terms of equal employment of women, women’s employment flows have not developed satisfactorily. Women are still not able to integrate into an equal economic sphere. Women are mostly employed in those sectors and activities where the male workforce is leaving space for employment. So women are not employed in lighter and better paying jobs. One of the causes of declining female employment is lower qualification and occupational structure of the employed women. Specifically, women still on average have lower vocational education than men. (Lovorka KuÅ¡an, 2011) [6] . The propulsive industries and women are present in very small numbers. When women tend to come to a job, they agree to such requirements in hiring and employment that they are currently offering, which means that they agree to lower income, less favorable conditions of work, less possibility for greater professional development and advancement, etc. The fact that there are male and female occupations is not necessary to prove.

Even today, in a modern and democratic society, it is still present traditionally male and traditionally female occupations. In traditionally male jobs are sought mainly male perpetrators, thereby almost completely abolishes the right and the ability of women to possibly try to hire some of these occupations. This is especially stressed on the need for workers vocational education where the requirements for workers of a particular gender are still present in a relatively large number of professions. At the level of higher education, they are much less pronounced. Thus, for example, carpenters, smiths, machinists, car mechanics, painters, electricians, etc. look almost exclusively by men.

Requirements for female perpetrators are particularly accentuated to typists, nurses, secretaries and preschool teachers. Certainly the most feminized of all industries is the textile industry. The problem of economic inequality of women in Croatia has deep roots in the patriarchal, socialist and communist legacy and the disastrous consequences of the war in all economic sectors. After the war in Croatia, the political and economic scene is dominated by male. The position of women in Croatia in recent years has developed at a considerable distance from the main European and global trends focused on equality and equal opportunities in the daily life of women and men. Labor law is prohibiting discrimination based on gender, stipulating equal pay between women and men, as well as the special protection of working mothers and pregnant women. A significant barrier to women in employment is the lack of a sufficient number of institutions and services that care for children of preschool age.

The high cost of these services is forcing many women to stay at home and look after the children, but to work. This is particularly a problem in the smaller towns and rural areas. Negligence government on this issue once again is reflecting the general attitude that is created in the society as a whole, which includes the opinion that the woman belongs in the home. In that way, the state strengthens the unequal treatment of women and men. Both concern the choice of occupation, and the opportunities to work in their chosen profession. Faced with the high costs of child care, many families with limited financial resources simply cannot afford to have children of women who work outside the home. This stifles the economic independence of women and diminishes their influence in society in general.

Though the educational status of women is increasing, they are still a minority in the parliament, the government and ministries. Although women are well represented in the state administration, practically they are not in leadership positions. Finally, the high prevalence of the gray market in Croatia requires special attention. According to some sources, the number of labor engaged in this way is extremely high. It is likely that this sector provides employment opportunities for a greater number of women than men. The informal nature of this sector significantly reduces the level of safety to all, especially women. It is known that in the case of pregnancy, women simply remain without her job. So far, the state has not taken hardly any concrete steps to further investigate these violations of labor law in this sector, or try to appropriate measures to protect and expand this sector.

European policy of equal opportunities

The most significant issue related to discrimination against women in employment is certainly a question of frequent absences due to family roles of women. As for the absences, the statistics prove that women suffer less of absent for it and that most of their absences is related to children. The problem of post-natal leave and sick leave, especially later due to illness of the child, it is also the cause of the negative attitudes of employers towards hiring women. Founding family for many years for a woman means removal from work, and training and experience become obsolete over time. This is often an obstacle in terms of promotion and career development in general.

Conversely, a full professional engagement means often abandonment of family life and constant vacillation between family and work. Thus, the woman is placed against wall or-or-choices: either family or career. As far as men are concerned, they successfully juggle both these spheres of life, because the vast majority of private and family responsibilities traditionally left to the woman. In other words, the question is whether a woman can successfully balance between professional and private commitments. (Matković Teo, 2008) [7] . During the second half of the twentieth century, there has been much progress made and a huge step forward with regard to the release of women from subordinate positions in the private life of the labor market.

Antidiscrimination laws are measures for the protection of maternity (pregnancy, lactation), along with the implementation of positive action to promote women in the working world, have led to an entirely different position of women in society-to their economic independence and the “new” balance of power between women and men in society in general. However, still most of the activities are related to the private sphere of woman’s life. Still the biggest challenge remains creating the social conditions that helped successfully align interdependent domains of professional, family and private life. It is evident that the future emphasis should be put on the joint participation of women and men in family and business life. In Europe, many companies have long implemented family-friendly programs. Such programs take into account the monthly, weekly or daily needs of their employees and act flexibly with their needs related to the private sphere of life.


We can conclude that the difference in wage rate may not be entirely the result of discrimination, but on her partly influenced by the non-discriminatory factors. Croatian labor legislation Labor Act and amendments to the Labor Law governs the whole matter in a new way the prohibition of discrimination against persons seeking employment or already employed workers. The Croatian legislation was first introduced norms of harassment and sexual harassment, and represents new legal norms on the protection of workers’ dignity. The road to the EU has not been completed and it will continue in our labor laws incorporate those regulations adopted by the EU in the period up to our entry into it. The common trait of all European labor legislation is that the situation at the beginning of the 21st century is much more favorable to women than the past few decades, especially with respect to the position of women in employment.


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