Corporate America’s Black Eye

The latest rash of corporate misconduct has triggered new battles over the corrosive effects of bias in the American workplace

pension moneys and upon our labor. But we’ve never effectively harnessed our economic strength. Now we must do that in the private sector.”

Among the cases Jackson says his new organization will be monitoring is the suit brought by two African American employees against Morgan Stanley & Co. The suit alleges white co-workers traded racist “jokes” via the company’s in-house computer electronic mail. The prominence of this case and others like it against Fortune 500 firms highlights a fundamental problem within the business industry. McCall says they put pressure on shareholders who “are often in denial that racism exists in corporate America.”

But as the population of the country changes and more people of color enter the workforce, companies will have to adjust how they handle these employees to function in the global marketplace. Corporate America “is not representative of our country in terms of its face, says Thornton. While the belief among most diversity experts is that corporations can’t force employees to change their personal attitudes and beliefs, strict corporate polices must be enacted to mandate behavior at the workplace. “If the corporation is going to compete internationally,” adds Thornton, “it’s going to have to deal with the international prejudice that still manifests itself right in its own boardrooms.”

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