The Trials and Tribulations When You Are A Minority at Work
The workplace can often be a challenging environment. For some of us, it could even be a hostile environment.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Center (EEOC), more than 84 thousand discrimination charges were filed in 2017, and that only includes employees who came forward – not the ones who resolved the issue or chose to remain silent.
If you’re a minority, you have to know that discrimination is illegal, and you have the right to report any discriminatory actions you experience at work.
Here are the most common types of discrimination against minority groups in the workplace.
Who Is Discriminated Against?
The EEOC stated that the most common claims in 2017 were cases of discrimination based on age, sex, race, disability, and retaliation. Other cases were based on sexual orientation and religion. These minorities are also called protected classes. Also, some people may get harassed or treated worse than others because they’re old, which qualifies as age discrimination.
Women sometimes get ridiculed or denied promotions because of their gender. The reasons behind this are that women can take pregnancy and maternity leaves, which is thought to hinder the work. Disabled people and people of color can also get denied opportunities although they are equally-qualified.
Retaliation is when an employee gets punished or discriminated against because they filed a complaint or complained to their manager or any higher position employer about being treated unfairly. According to the EEOC, all types of discrimination are illegal. If you’ve faced any form of it, you should file a charge.
Types of Discrimination
As the name suggests, direct discrimination, also known as disparate treatment, occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant in an unfavorable manner because of their protected class. This discrimination is usually based on pre-made assumptions and stereotypes, and it’s usually very obvious.
The Nashville-based legal team at https://eclaw.com/workplace-discrimination-lawyer/ states that if you’ve been discriminated against in such a direct manner, you should talk to the employee who treated you that way or go to a supervisor and only then, speak to a lawyer. Look for an experienced lawyer in your area who can get you the compensation you deserve for the unfair treatment you experienced.
Indirect discrimination can also be called disparate impact. It happens when the employer or workplace seems fair and nondiscriminatory. However, they apply policies that give advantage to the majority groups. For example, some basic screening methods may screen out minority applicants of low-income backgrounds because of credit checks. The main problem is that the employees of the protected class may be deceived into thinking that the employers are fair and are applying the rules on everybody. Meanwhile, these rules put them at an unjust disadvantage.
It could be a topic of controversy but reverse discrimination is worth mentioning. It happens when employers are trying to give an advantage to people who have been historically discriminated against. They end up discriminating against people who are a majority like Caucasians, or people that wouldn’t normally be discriminated against like men. It’s also called positive discrimination. Employers mean to balance the scale, but they end up treating their employees unfairly.
Examples of Discrimination
A woman is denied a more senior position that is then given to a man who is less qualified. In some cases, that could be because the woman is pregnant. According to the law, a pregnant woman must be treated the same way as a temporarily disabled employee would. And she must be given the same rights as one. These rights include light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave. There’s a new law that gives a new mother and father the right to a paid or unpaid leave of 12 weeks under certain circumstances.
A man gets harassed regularly because he is homosexual. That can include comments about sexual life, manners, sexual jokes, asking for sexual favors, touching, grabbing, leering, or gestures among many other examples. If you’re a minority when it comes to sexual orientation, you may keep this information from your coworkers and employers. The only case that requires disclosing is when filing a complaint to your manager or human resources department. If you don’t, the company can claim they didn’t know about your sexual orientation.
If you’re a minority at work, there are some extra challenges you might face. They can come in the form of discrimination or harassment, and in any case, you shouldn’t tolerate this kind of unfair treatment. There are steps that you can take to protect your rights. This can include talking to the person at fault in case they were not aware of their behavior.
The second step is to talk to your manager or supervisor. Finally, you can file a charge if the problem is not resolved or if the prejudiced party is not held liable. What matters at the end of the day is that you make your workplace a better and safer environment.