Sexual Harassment




Accordingto Pojman and Hettinger, compensatory justice is giving preferentialtreatment to members of a certain group of people, or a givencommunity, on the premise that, they were disenfranchised or facedsome injustice some time before. In other words, compensatory justiceis similar to preferential hiring in a work setting, where members ofa certain community are given preference over other members of thesociety. Pojman defends preferential hiring of people who are lessqualified than others under the principle that, those who willinglyand knowingly benefit from a previous wrong must assist in correctingthat wrong. Pojman was referring to innocent white males who havebeen beneficiaries of the black community discrimination andtherefore they have no reason to complain as the society has to finda way to rectify the past injustices. In his argument forcompensatory justification, he gives an analogy of two parents whowish their kid to make it to the NBA, one of the parents buy a costlygrowth hormone which will enhance the child’s capabilities butbefore it is administered the other parents steal the growth hormoneand years later their child is a star in the NBA. Pojman makes twopoints from this analogy.

First,the NBA star does not owe anything to anyone, this is because he wasat the receiving end of a gift which he had little to do with as itwas administered by his parents. Secondly, the other child is notentitled to the NBA’s star job though he may minimally be qualifiedfor it. However, since Pojman supports compensatory justificationdoes not mean that he is in full support of it. He states that somewrongs can never be compensated and the society has to make the bestout of any situation in our imperfect world. However, some proponentsof compensatory justice support such as move as long as threeconditions are met. DesJardins supports compensatory justification ifthe compensation received following preferential hiring is equal tothe harm caused from prior discrimination. Second, the party which isresponsible for the compensation is the party responsible for theharm and finally, the party that was harmed should be the on thereceiving end of the compensation. If the three conditions are met,then compensatory justification should be justified (Lane,2010).

EdwinHettinger has criticized preferential hiring stating that it isdifferent from racism and sexism in two ways. The intentions andmotives between the two are different. Preferential hiringdiscriminates a group of people based on their characteristics but ontheir job relevance and therefore it is unjust. However, preferentialhiring as a byproduct of affirmative action has good intentions andthe consequences are likewise good since it aims to level the playingfield. Racism and sexism undermines the character of othercommunities, thus having ill motives and negative consequences suchas stigmatization, encouraging the perpetuation of stereotypesagainst the affected community or group of people and so on.

Thoughaffirmative action might have some good consequences, a minority ofthe population who were once favored by the past injustice might endup being axed. This small minority is represented by the white maleswho have now to make way for people who suffered some injusticebefore. The white males have to make way the women and the blackcommunity who were unjustly disenfranchised by the system. Hettingernotes that this might not be fair to the innocent white populationbut under the principle of utilitarianism, the greatest happiness forthe majority is what matters. Therefore, the minority whites have tounderstand that they have to pay the price by the society embracingaffirmative action.

Thereis indeed some concern that white young males are not compensated forthe sacrifice they are required to make by the society. This isbecause in the future the young white males will not enjoy the sameopportunities and privileges that they used to enjoy before as aresult of preferential hiring. In fact, the young white males’population is innocent since they are not the ones who perpetratedthe injustices but rather their parents or grandparents. This meansthat sins of their parents will be upon them and they are more orless likely to suffer the same injustices as the community until atleast some level playing field in the work force or any other area issomewhat achieved. In other words, this small population has to dealwith the discrimination as a result of an existing imbalance in thesociety. However, by applying the principle of Unitarianism, thegreatest happiness takes the day and the minorities in society dealwith it.

Underthe principle of leveling the playing field, Louis Pojman was of theopinion that breaking stereotypes should not be used in leveling theground because it encourages incompetence and mediocrity. Pojmanbelieves that affirmative action especially in fields such aseducation will reduce the competitiveness of education in places ofhigher learning such as in the universities. For instance, theminority communities in the U.S are usually on the receiving end ofgrants and lower admission requirements in order ensure that there ismore representation in the university(Lea,2010).Such actions unfortunately do not break the stereotypes in thesociety but instead enhance them through affirmative action. This inturn reduces the level of standards in institutions of higherlearning as students from minority communities never put their bestfoot forward as the system has already been tilted towards theirfavor. Eventually, minority students do not work as hard as theirwhite counterparts and end up performing dismally compared to themall in the name of leveling the playing field. Therefore, it is truethat affirmative action reinforces stereotypes such as black studentscannot perform well in college because the playing field was in thefirst tilted to their favor. Therefore, the black community gets thisreputation of being non-performance at school and the cycle goes onand on.

Unequalrepresentation at work may not necessarily point out to sexism orracism in the working environment. In some places of wok when meritis upheld, it is possible to find a disproportionate representationof women and races in the work field. This is especially true invarious professions that require lots of time and a given level ofskill in order to attain expertise in a given area. Field likemedicine for instance might be the subject of such unequalrepresentation as a certain level of commitment is required due tothe sensitive nature of the job description(Pojman).Doctors deal with people’s lives therefore merit can never becompromised in certain situations.

Pojmanis the opinion that affirmative action is necessary but in someinstance it might work against the minorities in the community as itundermines merit in the society. Just like in the previous caseswhere Pojman was in favor of preferential treatment, he admits thatdiversifying the applicants’ pool and the use of hiring quotascannot enhance level of standards at work. Diversifying the pool ofapplicants is a way of affirmative action where the number ofminorities and women applicants is increased in order to increasetheir participation in the workplace. Hiring quotas are also used toencourage the participation of minorities and women regardless of thenumber of whites who apply. Both efforts unfortunately lead to lowerperformance at work. This is because the most qualified people arelocked out and the minorities who are now entitled to a new job donot work hard to better themselves as the job was handed to them asopposed to earning the job(Pojman).

LouisPojman states that affirmative action eventually shifts the burden ofproof to the women and the minority communities who have been awardedwith job opportunities at expense of more qualified whitecounterparts. Their failure or success in their field will morelikely than not become the subject discussion in the future as thenow disenfranchised white males might seek to have some form ofreverse discrimination in an effort to level the playing field forthem. Therefore, the minorities and the women have a lot to prove andshow the society that they affirmative action is not just some way ofgetting back to the oppressors.


Lane,R. (2010, November 29). Introductionto Ethics.Retrieved April 16, 2015, from West Edu:

Lea,J. (2010). PoliticalCorrectness and Higher Education: British and American Perspectives.Routledge.

Pojman,L. (n.d.). TheCase Against Affirmative Action.Retrieved April 16, 2015, from CSUS. Edu: