How To Recognize Discrimination
Learning how to recognize discrimination is the first step of societal change. The presence of discrimination in our society and the world is an unfortunate reality. But, never before have we been in a time that cries for equality. Studies show that education develops and alters the cultural norms of a society.
Let’s be a part of the change!
What Does Discrimination Look Like In The Workplace?
Discrimination comes in all shapes, sizes, patterns, backgrounds, and shades. Some discrimination is obvious. Other negative interaction is so nuanced only a few might be able to recognize the discrimination.
According to the law, it is illegal for an employer to allow any type of discrimination to influence his or her decision in hiring, firing, or promoting.
A quick example of obvious discrimination is if an employer fires you while bad-mouthing you for your race, age, or gender.
An example of subtle discrimination is an employee who is routinely passed up for a promotion despite being more than qualified, especially if the promoted employee is less qualified for the position.
Where Does Discrimination Happen?
The sad truth is that discrimination can happen everywhere and anywhere in the workplace, and it’s extremely difficult to recognize in some cases. Through real life examples, we try to share with you areas where discrimination most often happens on the job. Have you been discriminated against or, worse, have you discriminated against others?
Keep an eye on the task assignments given by your supervisor. Recognize discrimination by analyzing the type of people who receive specific tasks. Are the jobs being handed out equally or are the best projects going to the same type of people every time? After a while, you may notice that certain ethnic groups or genders are preferred recipients of specific jobs. This is subtle discrimination.
Certain questions asked in an interview can lead to discrimination. For example, an interviewer may not ask about your plans to have children in the future nor may they ask about your childcare plans. If you are asked any questions like the ones below, you can choose not to answer. Be courteous.
- Have you been arrested?
- What religious holidays do you observe?
- Do you have debt?
- What military discharge did you have?
Work Dress Codes
Many companies have a specified code of dress associated with the job position. However, a new dress code might be implemented that is discriminatory in nature towards certain belief systems. If the company does not allow for reasonable accommodation of these belief systems, they are violating the law.
Quick Tips: Recognize Discrimination
The main quality of discrimination is a lack of fair treatment. Although life rarely seems fair, we humans ought to strive to treat each other equally and respectfully. Other qualities that characterize discrimination may include racial pride, prejudice, or fear of difference.
Know the job position. Not only does this mean knowing the assigned tasks but it also means being aware of job title. Do others of the same title receive different treatment—good or bad?
Keep an eye out for stereotypes. When any employee doesn’t fit a certain type, he or she is likely to experience discrimination. Are they being assigned equally important projects or being overlooked?
Evaluate special project assignments. Does your supervisor prefer a certain group of people over another easily stereotyped group? Are special projects evenly distributed to qualified individuals?
Record instances of discrimination. If you witness a coworker being harassed or discriminated against due to his or her sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or disability, jot down the time, place, and what happened.
Report inappropriate or derogatory comments. Racial jokes and inappropriate slurs should never be overlooked. Be sure to pass on incidents to management if you witness such moments.
Call out discrimination in hiring, firing, or promoting. Occasionally, a qualified individual is turned away for a job opening based on race, sexual preference, or gender. If you see this happen, it is illegal.
If you have experienced or recognized discrimination in your workplace, contact a discrimination lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.