Positive Discrimination in the Workplace

Updated November 21, 2016

Discrimination is the act of treating someone differently based on their gender, race, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability. Discrimination is often associated with treating someone negatively based on these factors, but it's possible to show positive discrimination.

Positive Discrimination in Workplace

Positive discrimination in the workplace means that an employer may be more likely to hire someone based on their gender, race or other conditions. A company may choose to use positive discrimination to appear more diverse to the outside or to gain an incentive. Another phrase associated with positive discrimination is affirmative action. Affirmative action refers to employers taking an initiative to hire people without considering their race, gender or origin of birth. In 1965, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson passed an executive order that stated job candidates could not be discriminated against.


A benefit of positive discrimination is that it ensures people won't be out of work because of their gender, race or other conditions or disabilities. It helps to level the professional playing field for different people.


Positive discrimination is still discrimination, which continues to put emphasis on a person's gender, race or origin of birth. It can also be negative for someone pursuing the same job as a minority applicant. A person might be more qualified and still not get the job if the company is practicing positive discrimination.

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About the Author

Megan Richardson began her career as a freelance writer and editor in 2009. She has experience in public relations and event planning, and she worked as a writer's assistant to a published author for more than a year. Her work has also appeared in "The Daily Sentinel." Richardson holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University