It can be direct, as when a particular group is adversely targeted, or indirect, when one group is given preferential treatment to the detriment of another group. Discrimination can occur on an individual plane or as institutionalized discrimination, in which the organization itself is structured against particular groups (Webb, 2004).
Discrimination can be based on gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion and disability. Gender discrimination is widely prevalent, from female infanticide to glass ceilings in the corporate world. It is seen in employment policies which are biased against women in recruitment, sexual harassment in the workplace, resentment against pregnancy and maternity leave, fewer chances for promotion and training and unequal pay scales. Stereotypes about career choices persist: nursing and cleaning for women, engineering and construction for men!!! Outside the workplace, it extends to obstacles in securing mortgages or loans and housing (Equal Opportunities Commission, 2005). Discrimination based on sexual orientation usually takes the form of subtle or overt intimidation, hostility and humiliation of lesbians, homosexuals and bisexuals and unfair treatment in cases of recruitment, promotion and dismissal. Age discrimination is seen in all aspects of society, from mandatory retirement ages at work, elder abuse at home, substandard treatment from public health and social care services, to the lack of supportive infrastructure in public places and on transport (Help the Aged, 2007). Racial discrimination is based of colour, nationality and ethnicity and is inarguably the most high profile issue in discrimination (the recent ‘Big Brother’ episode on television being a case in point!). Racist abuse and harassment, lack of equal access to the best educational facilities and outright physical violence, particularly in the contemporary social climate of post 11/9 terrorism, are prevalent. In many cases, religious