Understanding and Reducing Workplace Discrimination
Can you recall any example of employee discrimination at your workplace? If you haven’t been discriminated against in your workplace. Then you are probably working in the world’s best organization. If you think or believe discrimination doesn’t exist, then you don’t know what it is. Almost 84254 discrimination charges were filed with EEOC in 2017. Undoubtedly the numbers are too high. It doesn’t include the cases that haven’t resolved the disputes internally or never came forward. The data are prior to #Metoomovement, which will even add drastic numbers to the data.
We have come far since innuendo, and witty put-downs were common in the workplace. And thanks to modern people’s mentality, society is a much fairer and better place to live in where individuals are treated equally rather than being mocked or marginalized. According to a report published in 2019 from ADP, Workforce view in Europe report, 43% of employees between the age group 25-35 have reported some kind of discrimination in the workplace. Almost that’s equal to one out of two employees.
Discrimination at the workplace can occur anytime between employees, colleagues, employers, and between employees and the third party. Basically, employee discrimination is unfair treatment to the employees based on gender, religion, skin color, or category they belong to. However, workplace discrimination can turn into an ugly head from time to time. If not managed properly, workplace discrimination could be very costly. It can even tarnish the firm’s reputation, so whether you have one employee or hundreds of employees, as management, it is crucial to know that employment discrimination is illegal and how it should be avoided. This can be intimidating for small and middle-sized entrepreneurs who manage the business for the first time. Being a manager, you must be aware of what constitutes discrimination in the firm. Not just because your employees need to be treated well, you might be breaking the law in lieu.
What is Workplace Discrimination?
As stated by the equal opportunity commission,” discrimination” is about treating individuals unequally due to their characteristics or characteristics. Discriminations mean to make distinctions. It itself is prohibited by law. Discrimination isn’t unlawful but could be only prohibited on certain grounds and in certain situations. Only where discrimination is unlawful is concerning employment. Discrimination is based on certain prejudices. It occurs when an employee is treated unequally due to age, sexuality, race, religion, disability, or any traits or qualities they possess. Generally, discrimination can be categorized into two groups:
- Direct Discrimination: It’s the type of discrimination that is held against you and due to which you are treated unequally. Discriminated employees are paid less than other employees for no good reasons.
- Indirect Discrimination: Certain policies or laws puts certain employees at a disadvantage while it doesn’t bother others. For example, a company insists its workers work on Sundays. It would be acceptable for most of the team to discriminate against the employees who worship on Sundays.
Common Types of Discrimination
Every individual deserves to be treated equally. That’s why the government has several anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws. As an employee, you must be aware of such discrimination types and implement laws to avoid its occurrence.
- Disability Discrimination: It’s the most common type of discrimination you will find in the workplace. You may even have found it in your organization. Employees might have been punished for taking disability-related leaves, or management hasn’t made certain adjustments for the disabled employees to get adjustable to the environment.
- Race Discrimination: It’s present in every organization. Every organization has certain policies that lemmatize individuals’ opportunities for individuals. For example, A German fluent in English might not be appointed for the job as the organization requires a native English speaker.
- National Origin Discrimination: National origin is protected under the act of Title VII civil right act of 1964. The law states that no employer is allowed to deny access to jobs to employees due to the difference in accent or different country of origin. Moreover, English should have opted as a primary language for communications, which eliminates communication barriers.
- Gender Discrimination: It’s really unfortunate that gender inequality still persists. In certain circumstances, pay imbalances exist between men and women for the same position, or certain questions are from women that aren’t meant to be asked.
- Pregnancy Discrimination: The law saves pregnant women from losing their jobs. If the organization denies someone to hire just, they are pregnant or don’t provide paid maternity leaves; then, they tend to break employment policies.
- Religious Discrimination: Religious Discrimination is the prime concern amongst individuals worldwide. Same like race and national discrimination, religious discrimination is protected under Title VII civil right act 1964. The law states that no employee could be fired for following their religious beliefs. Organizations should make necessary arrangements for religious grab and should grant time off or holidays for religious functions.
- Sexual Harassment: It’s the most common type of discrimination. It’s been protected by several laws, including civil human rights 1964, the Americans with disability act of 1990, age discrimination employment act of 1967. A homosexual man is often called by a female version of his name and may time be questioned about their relationships.
- Age Discrimination: It’s most common in Asian countries. Often, employers target older employees with the comment to retire or simply refuse to hire talented employees because of their age. Federal age discrimination in employment act of 1967 protects employees of over 40 years of age from age discrimination.
Discriminations can be explained as making distinctions between humans based on race, colour, gender, etc. But can you assume what could be the cost of discrimination? The most pertinent cost is the impact it causes on the people suffering. It can adversely impact morale, confidence, ability to perform or mental health, etc. Outside personal impact, the effects can ripple throughout the team, so even the not affected one is upset. In some cases, employees will leave the firm, due to which you will have employee shortage and missing the deadlines. Moreover, discrimination in the workplace is illegal because of which your firm could be in legal trouble. As a manager, negligence of discrimination could be costly. You can also refer our article on conflict resolution for handling internal conflicts and discriminations in a firm. So always keep a check on management functioning.