Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bank of America: Discriminatory Employment (2014)

Bank of America logo

Bank of America described itself as “one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 57 million consumer and small business relationships with thousands of retail banking offices and ATMs and award-winning online banking with more than 29 million active users.” Furthermore "Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in 175 countries and has relationships with 98 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 80 percent of the Global Fortune 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The majority of Bank of America is located in the United States of America, which is a country founded on diversity because there are a lot of immigrants from all over the world coming here. As Bank of America is a large company, this means that there are a lot of employees and everyone is expected to respect that people should have equal rights and also respect their ethnic background.
It is interesting that the company started discriminating only one sector of races which is the African American race in the United States of America. I experienced no discrimination as an immigrant when I was in school, and I never felt like people treated me differently. I was surprised when I found out about the lawsuit of Bank of America, Titled "Fined $2M for RacialDiscrimination against Black Job Applicants." This is one of the scandals about BofA’s hiring practices that was brought to the attention media by a group of employees. According to CNN, “the case which was first filed by one African American employee back in 2005, quickly grew to 1,200 class representatives. The U.S. Department of Labor fined Bank of America $2.2 million in back wages and interest, after 1,147 African American job seekers claimed to have dealt with discriminatory hiring practices by the lender at their Charlotte, N.C., headquarters from 1993 to 2005."
Court documents specify that the presiding judge over the case, administrative law judge Linda Chapman, found that “the bank applied unfair and inconsistent selection criteria resulting in the rejection of qualified African-American applicants for teller and entry-level clerical and administrative positions.” For the most part, the majority of those looking to secure a career with Bank of America’s Charlotte facility were reportedly never even considered, according to Newsone.

On the other hand, Bank of America spokesman Christipher Feeney, claims:
"At Bank of America, diversity and inclusion are part of our culture and core company value. We actively promote an environment where all employees have an opportunity succeed", (allvoices).
Brian Maynihan, CEO of Bank of America
The evidence, however,  from the statistic of rejection of the African American applicants is opposite of what they said. I thought the discrimination of the past was over but it is still apparent even now. In my opinion, I do not think is fair that BofA is only pointing out just African Americans. Why have they never even considered African American applicants? The reason might be because of their judgment and racial discrimination. Not only this company discriminated on African American but other companies also have done that. Based on the information from Michele Travis, Discrimination against African Americans is all over the United States. Statistics can prove this to be true. Unemployment for Black people is double then it is for White people, some companies hire mostly White people. An example is Microsoft. In the year 2000, there were 20,000 White people working for Microsoft, and 544 Black people working for Microsoft. In considering this case with BofA and African Americans, it is hard to judge who is right,or who is wrong. Every company has their own reason. On the other hand, in this case African American applicants got effected based on discrimination which is not fair for them. Keep in mind that in the USA, everyone has the equal rights.
In all four major ethical theories, including Individualism (Friedman's Economic Theory), Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Virtue Theory, the discrimination between African American applicants who were rejected from the Bank of America can be considered highly unethical based on the evidence that is given.

According to Individualism Theory (The Economic Theory) Friedman said "The only goal of business is profit, so the only obligation that the business person has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholders." From what he said, I think BoaF has the right to hire people who they think will qualify and fit their business and maximize their profit. I think the reason that they rejected many african american applicants is because they might have low qualification of what the business required. If the company wants to get best profitability while staying within the law, hiring employees different background is important to get people who have enough potential and knowledge to manage their business.

According to Utilitarianism, the theory is all actions aimed at something that is good. Happiness or pleasure are the only things of intrinsic value. Some stakeholders in BofA did obtain happiness through the action of rejection of African American applicants. These rejections allow their company to still maximize their business's profit with knowledgeable employee who have the potential to do so. It will be of benefit to their budget of providing jobs. In the end, BofA are the only one who are happy but African American applicants who are waiting for jobs have no happiness at all due to BofA's actions.

Bank of America at the New York Stock Exchange

Kantianism is based on acting rationally, do not act inconsistently in your own actions or consider yourself exempt form rules, allow and help people to make rational decision, respect people, their autonomy, and individual needs and differences, be motivated by good will, seeking to do what is right because it is right. BofA's action toward the African American race does not conform to Kant's principles due to the racial discrimination that they have toward African Americans. Also the way BofA acted is not rational. This action is opposite of what Kant said on his Formala of Humanity that "Act in such a way that you threat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means." This showed that BofA's discrimination to African Americans does not respect their humanity and the way they treated African Americans is not the way that they wanted African Americans to treat them back.

Virtue Theory
In Virtue Theory, the characteristics that allow things to function properly are called good making features or virtues. If the business acts in a way that fits virtue characteristics, it means that it is acting ethically. The four virtue characteristics are courage, honesty, temperance/self control, and justice/fairness. Courage represents risk-taking and willingness to take a stand for the right ideas and actions. Honesty represents in agreements, hiring and treatment of employees, customers and other companies, Temperance/self control represents “reasonable expectations and desires”, and Justice/fairness represents hard work, quality products, good ideas, fair practices. Bank of America has none of these virtues. They did not even have the courage to hire African Americans to work. They did not have honesty toward the applicants because they were not even considering the African American applicants, they have no self control due to ignoring those applicants. They have no fairness due to their discrimination in dealing with those applications.

The Bank of America scandal showed that the rejection of African American applicants were racially discriminated by the company. The four different ethical theories represent how to be an ethical company. A person could see from this that Bank of America is unethical organization based on racial discrimination.


"Bank of America Fined $2M For Racial Discrimination Against Black Job Applicants." NewsOne Staff, 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.<>.

"Bank of America fined $2 million for race discrimination." CNNMoney. Alanna Petroff, 24 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <>.

Salazar, Heather, Dr. "Business Ethical Theories." Herman Hall. Western New England University, Springfield, Massachusetts. 11 Feb. 2014. Lecture. bank of america, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.<>.

Travis, Michele. "African Americans Still Facing Discrimination." hubpages. N.p., 24 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.<>.

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