There are misunderstandings and off-color humor. Then there’s discrimination. There’s a fine line between the two. Unfortunately, many workers experience interactions that lean much further towards the latter.
If you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, you need to take action. You have the right to work without facing these problems.
Have you been affected by any of the following types of discrimination?
1) Race or Ethnicity
Some people are still happy to claim that things like racism don’t exist in the modern workplace. After all, isn’t it 2016? We have a black US president and everything these days! But, of course, this kind of discrimination isn’t dead. In fact, workplace racism seems to be on the rise.
Don’t be too dispirited, though. These statistics don’t necessarily mean more people are being racist in the workplace. It actually means more people are speaking out about it. Is it a sign of improved race relations? I’m not sure. But if you face any behavior in the workplace based on your race or ethnicity that upsets you, know that there are people out there who have your back.
Age discrimination seems to be the one that people get the least angry about. But some statistics suggest that it’s the most common form of employment discrimination there is. And considering that people tend to live about forty years without facing this kind of thing, that’s a pretty shocking fact.
One of the sad realities of this problem is that many of the people who face it find themselves agreeing with the judgement, to an extent. But if you face it at your workplace, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye. It’s not a benign face of the workplace. If you’re facing it, consider someone like ADEA protection.
3) Disability or Medical Condition
How do we define disability? In legal terms, it’s an impairment of body or mind that limits major life activities or work opportunities. If you have the ability to do the job regardless of these disabilities, then an employer has no need (or right) to take action against you on that basis.
If an employer makes an employee go through undue hardship to do their job, that could be discrimination. Employers need to engage fully with someone with a disability so that they can both meet each other’s needs. And remember that this also takes mental health into account. Because people don’t often talk about mental health, people who suffer from discrimination based on it don’t often know what to do. As such, this behavior can often go unchecked.
4) Sex, sexual orientation or gender identity
The three of these issues don’t deserve to be lumped into one category. All three are unique distresses that are treated in very different ways. Large strides have been made from full-blown societal sexism over the years, for example. But people seem to be having a harder time getting over the fact of “unconventional” gender identities.
Whatever the societal excuse, you have the right to work without discriminatory behavior based on who you are or who you love. Colleagues or even employers may make nasty remarks based on any of these three things. But more often, discrimination in these areas takes on a more subtle form. It’s taking sex, sexual preference or gender identity into account in areas in which those things are irrelevant.