What is Discrimination at Workplaces?
Discrimination is the process of favoring one group of people over other groups which leads to the unfair treatment of others.
Discrimination in the workplace refers to the unfair treatment or unfavorable actions taken against employees or job applicants based on certain protected characteristics or attributes. It occurs when individuals are treated differently or face disadvantages due to factors such as their race, color, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics outlined in applicable laws or regulations.
Here are some common forms of workplace discrimination.
1. Direct Discrimination: This occurs when individuals are treated less favorably or subjected to adverse actions explicitly because of their protected characteristics. For example, refusing to hire someone based on their gender or promoting an employee based on their race while ignoring more qualified candidates of different races.
2. Indirect Discrimination: Indirect discrimination happens when policies, practices, or criteria that appear neutral on the surface disproportionately disadvantage individuals with specific protected characteristics. For instance, implementing work schedules that disproportionately affect employees with caregiving responsibilities, which predominantly fall on women.
3. Harassment: Harassment involves unwanted behavior that creates a hostile or intimidating work environment. This can include offensive comments, jokes, slurs, gestures, or other forms of verbal, written, or physical conduct based on protected characteristics. Sexual harassment is a specific form of harassment based on sex or gender.
4. Retaliation: Retaliation occurs when adverse actions, such as termination, demotion, or disciplinary measures, are taken against employees in response to their participation in protected activities, such as reporting discrimination, filing a complaint, or cooperating in an investigation.
5. Disparate Treatment: Disparate treatment refers to differential treatment of individuals based on protected characteristics. It involves intentionally treating individuals less favorably or subjecting them to different standards or conditions compared to others with different characteristics.
6. Pay Discrimination: Pay discrimination occurs when employees receive unequal compensation for substantially similar work based on their protected characteristics. This includes disparities in wages, salaries, bonuses, benefits, or other forms of compensation.
7. Accommodation Discrimination: Accommodation discrimination happens when employers fail to provide reasonable accommodations for employees' disabilities or religious beliefs, resulting in unequal treatment or disadvantages in the workplace.
It is important to note that laws and regulations governing workplace discrimination vary between countries, regions, and jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions, anti-discrimination laws exist to protect employees and job applicants from unfair treatment based on their protected characteristics. These laws often establish legal remedies, complaint procedures, and enforcement mechanisms to address instances of workplace discrimination.
Organizations have a responsibility to foster inclusive and non-discriminatory work environments. Promoting diversity and inclusion, implementing anti-discrimination policies, providing employee training on diversity and inclusion, establishing complaint procedures, and conducting regular reviews to identify and address discriminatory practices are some steps organizations can take to prevent and address workplace discrimination. To understand more aspects that can cater to enhancing the quality of your work environment, read up about work-life balance.