Different Types Of Discrimination In The Workplace: What You Should Know

Different Types Of Discrimination In The Workplace: What You Should Know

The Facts

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Different types of discrimination in the workplace exists based on certain prejudices. It involves treating an employee or a colleague unfavorably because of sexuality, religion, race, gender, maternity, or any kind of disability. If anyone treats an individual differently because that person possesses different characteristics, that comes under workplace discrimination.

Direct discrimination is also common in many workplaces. That involves treating someone less favorably as compared to others. On the other hand, indirect discrimination occurs when certain members are at a disadvantage due to specific rules and regulations.

Discrimination in the workplace happens when a person or a group is treated unequally or unfairly because of some specific characteristics. Such behavior can take place between colleagues, job applicants, co-workers, employers, etc. Workplace discrimination is illegal, regardless of the intention.

Different Types of Discrimination in the Workplace

There are various types of discrimination that may happen in the workplace. Most of the time, they center around some protected characteristics. You will understand it better once you go through the seven types of workplace discrimination below:

  1. Racial Discrimination

Treating individuals unequally because of their race or other related characteristics is deemed illegal. Some people also call it color discrimination. So, if you are treating someone unfairly because of that person’s skin color or complexion, that is prohibited.

  1. Religious Discrimination

It is illegal for anyone in the workplace to treat others adversely or unfairly because of their religious beliefs and practices. Moreover, companies should make reasonable accommodations for all the employees who need amenities, time, and space to observe their spiritual practices.

  1. Disability Discrimination

Numerous countries have legal acts that call it illegal to take adverse action against qualified employees or job candidates. In short, an organization or its employers cannot refuse to hire disabled candidates. Moreover, they cannot deny accommodation or pay them an unfair wage because of their disability.

  1. Pregnancy Discrimination

Just like disability, most countries have introduced acts related to pregnancy. Under the same, the employers of an organization must treat pregnancy in a way that they would handle any other non-permanent condition or temporary illness. They cannot fire, deny a job or promotion, or pay a reduced amount to the employee because she is expecting a child.

  1. Age Discrimination

There are laws for age discrimination that prevents the employers of an organization from specifying an age preference in internships, job descriptions, or any other documents of the said company. Moreover, organizations are prohibited from denying compensation, benefits, and incentives depending on age.

  1. Gender Discrimination

Just like age, it is illegal to specify a preference for a particular gender or sex in a job description or posting of any organization. Employers must treat all job seekers or employees as equal in an organization, irrespective of their sex or gender.

  1. LGBTQ+ Discrimination

Firing an employee for being transgender or gay is completely illegal. It is also prohibited to deny employment, fair compensation, workplace benefits, or equal treatment to such people.

How do You Identify Discrimination in the Workplace?

Recognizing discrimination in the workplace seems to be a tricky job. Sometimes, hostile behavior in the workplace gets written off as joking, harmless, or something that is unintended. However, it may not be so in certain cases. You can follow the steps below to identify whether there has been any discrimination in your workplace.

  1. Lack of Diversity

Certain workplaces lack diversity. That makes them guilty of discrimination even if they are not meant to be. That is because people do not stick around if they do not feel welcomed. If the work environment is attracting only a particular individual or group, you get your hint right there.

  1. Retaliation

Workplaces that empower abusive or discriminatory behavior do so through the intimation of would-be whistleblowers. If you are someone considering speaking up but not allowed to do so, that already hints at discriminatory behavior in the said place. That is also a sign that something is up in the workplace.

  1. Offensive Language or Comments

If there is a use of offensive language or comments in the team conversations, that totally makes up for discrimination. What’s worse is when a CEO or an employer at a higher level takes part in the same. It already makes you feel that you are working in a toxic environment.

  1. Inappropriate Questions

Asking someone personal questions or popping up an odd question in an interview are all signs of discriminatory behavior. While some of these questions may be innocuous at times, the person concerned may not have the best intentions at heart. They may be exposing their own ignorance or looking for ways not to give you the role or position.

What steps should be taken to Prevent Discrimination?

The employers of an organization need to be proactive when it comes to preventing discrimination if they want to stay on the right side of the law. Here is how they can prevent discrimination at the workplace:

  1. Recruitment

Avoiding discrimination begins even before an organization hires someone. They should make sure that their adverts do not discriminate against candidates or employees based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, etc.

  1. Policy

Every organization must create an equal opportunities policy for all its employees. That should also include the protected characteristics, discrimination, and other kinds of behavior that are or aren’t acceptable at work.

  1. Education

Organizations should educate their employees about discrimination and let them know the company policies thoroughly. These details must be included in the contract of employment and the employee handbook itself.

  1. Respect

Organizations should let their workforce know that it is a part of the company culture to respect each other irrespective of any different characteristics. That will make them understand the worth of workplace diversity.

  1. Dealing with Complaints

Employers of an organization must deal with a complaint quickly and confidentially as soon as it is filed. They should make sure that they have a robust complaints procedure in the workplace.

  1. Training

General discrimination training must be an integral part of the onboarding process of all the employees of an organization. Moreover, they should train the managers and supervisors to spot any cases of discrimination and the various ways to respond to them.

  1.  Enforcement

Having a workplace policy on discrimination is not enough. The employers of an organization must make sure it is properly enforced over everyone and let the staff feel confident about its validity.

  1. Review

Organizations must review their policies regularly to make sure all of them are working effectively. They should also keep making changes wherever necessary.

Final Words

Today, society has become a fair and equal place with all its people protected and included rather than getting marginalized or mocked. However, despite these great strides, discrimination in the workplace remains a common problem in many places. As a manager or an employer of an organization, individuals should be aware of the legalities of discrimination, its punishable offenses, and other law-abiding procedures to prevent such behavior. 

Almost all the countries have adopted employment discrimination laws in present times. That prohibits workplace discrimination based on factors like gender, race, religion, disability, etc. It will help the organizations deal with the discriminatory practices in a stern and quick manner.

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