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Workplace Discrimination Explained and How You Can Confront it

 Image Via Rowan University

 

Discrimination is the unfair treatment of people due to their race, gender, age, or sexual orientation.Workplace discrimination is very common in the U.S and can occur between coworkers, employees, and employers. It is often expressed in subtle and direct ways, such as offensive comments, language, and inappropriate questions. Several studies reveal that many discriminatory workplace practices create disadvantages for people of color. For instance, applicants with white-sounding names are more likely to receive phone calls back from employers than those with ethnic-sounding names. Additionally, a survey conducted by Workplace that 24% percent of Black and Hispanic employees reported experiencing discrimination in their workplaces compared to 15% of white and 16% of Asian employees. 


Workplace discrimination does not affect everyone equally, but it can still have a detrimental effect on an individual. This is due to how it affects an employee’s wellbeing and motivation to be committed to their work. People who are discriminated against might feel that their opinions don’t matter which can prevent them from contributing to the workplace, thus affecting their overall performance. Victims of workplace discrimination often struggle with emotional issues which can cause them to start doubting themselves. Eventually, this might affect an individual’s stress and anxiety level leading to physical, mental, and other health issues. Furthermore, studies conducted by theNational Institutes of Health ( NIH)  suggest a link between racial discrimination and smoking, which is something an employee may resort to in order to cope with the situation at work. Not only are employees affected, but the work environment also becomes unwelcoming and businesses start to face monetary losses. In addition, workplaces can become unproductive as employees lose focus and engage in “counterproductive work behaviors such as failing to complete tasks on time, leaving work early, and arriving late”.


Whether it occurs on purpose or by accident, ”discrimination, regardless of intention, is illegal”.  It is essential to promote a work environment that fosters diversity because it can make employees feel valued and increase their productivity. According to workplace behavior studies, changes made in the workplace to promote diversity have significantly reduced employee turnover and absenteeism rates. In order to create a more welcoming workplace, it is crucial to eliminate bias in the evaluation process and choose candidates that display various skills. Representation is also important and allows businesses to thrive as it gives under-represented people the opportunity to share their experiences. If a person is experiencing any discrimination at work, they have the option to file a complaint through either the state department of labor or the EEOC. The most important thing to provide in the complaint is a brief account of the experience which will allow agencies to investigate further. An organization that protects against workplace discrimination is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They allow authorities to investigate charges against employers including providing access to pay, promotions, and other work-related issues. 


Discrimination in the workplace is a major issue that affects many individuals worldwide. Being treated unfairly at work can have a negative impact on one's mental and physical health, resulting in poor work performance. It can also affect employers as they begin to lose employees and money due to the poor work environment. Thus, it is important to combat this issue by promoting fairness, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.


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Laura Davidson

 

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