It is a struggle that many of us may have dealt with either directly or indirectly, whether we were aware of it or not. But what can be done to fight workplace discrimination? First, let’s define what workplace discrimination is and how to identify it.
What is employment discrimination?
The EEOC defines workplace discrimination as a situation when “someone means to treat that person differently, or less favorably, for some reason.” This type of discrimination often stems from treatment based on one’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, age, or genetic information.
The EEOC is designed specifically to help employees identify and overcome these forms of discrimination in the workforce. However, there are several other laws in place to help with discrimination in other areas.
How you can identify discrimination in the workplace
Employee discrimination can come in several forms, and everyone may experience it differently. Employee discrimination can often be seen from the following:
- Unfair treatment: If you feel as though you are being treated differently based on race, gender, sex, nationality, age, etc., you may be experiencing employment discrimination. This unfair treatment can appear as being offered less pay or benefits than those with the same experience and credentials, being held back from promotions, and more.
- Harassment: Harassment can come from anyone in the workplace, whether that is your supervisor or your coworker. If you are often ridiculed or targeted based on the previously mentioned characteristics, this can be considered harassment.
- Denial of necessary change: Denial of necessary change is referring to when leadership or management refuses to make adjustments needed based on religion or disability. For instance, if you are denied time off to celebrate a religious holiday, this can be considered employment discrimination.
- Inappropriate questions: Inappropriate questions are questions that relate to matters that do not impact the workplace. This can often be seen accidentally in interviews. Oftentimes, these questions target employees based on age, sexuality, and gender.
- Retaliation: Retaliation often follows complaints about job discrimination or assisting in a job discrimination case. It may look like a change in behavior towards someone or any of the other previously mentioned actions.
What you can do to beat it
In order to defeat employment discrimination, you have to understand what resources are available to help you and what you will need. In order to utilize outside resources, such as the EEOC, you’ll need to collect evidence to help support your claim.
- Direct evidence: Direct evidence refers to evidence-based statements from managers or supervisors that have directly witnessed the acts of discrimination. This form of evidence is considered to be the most beneficial to your case, but it can also be difficult to obtain.
- Indirect evidence: Indirect evidence, otherwise known as circumstantial evidence, are things outside of direct evidence that suggest the employment discrimination occurred.
For more on how to prove discrimination occurred, check out this site.
Once you have evidence, you can start to create your case. If you feel comfortable, you may choose to contact the human resources department at your place of employment. However, if you do not feel comfortable or if this department is contributing to the issues in any way, the EEOC can help you as well.
Employee discrimination is not a challenge any of us want to face, but it does exist. Understanding what it is and what you will need to do is the first step in overcoming it. We hope this information and these resources will help.