Discrimination in the workplace

11 April 2023Up Stories
Discrimination at work

Have you ever been in a work environment where a certain type of person is favored, and you feel unwelcome as someone who is different, resulting in your leaving?

Have you also been in an environment where people express their opinions openly and honestly, but do not stay for long?

Have you ever been the recipient or witness of hostile and offensive behavior, often considered as jokes?

If you are considering speaking up, but are encouraged not to do so, this is a sign that something is happening within your organization. This is nothing more than the phenomenon of discrimination in the workplace. I am sure that many of you can relate to this and have seen it happen to others or even to yourselves.

Let's look at the definition, and types, as well as some ideas on how they can be eliminated.

Discrimination in the workplace occurs when an individual or a group of people is unfairly or unequally treated due to specific characteristics. These protected characteristics include race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or national origin. Discrimination in the workplace can occur among colleagues, between employees and their employers, or even during the hiring process of new employees. Regardless of intent, discrimination is illegal according to various laws (e.g., Law 3304/2005, Law 4443/2016, Law 3896/2010, etc.). Employers are prohibited from practicing discriminatory treatment against employees based on gender, racial/ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age, and sexual orientation.

The recognition of discrimination in the workplace is difficult. It may be sensed but cannot be easily identified, and it usually takes time to document and prove. Hostile behavior in the workplace is often translated as humorous or harmless.

What steps should employers follow to ensure they do not discriminate?

Hiring Process: When posting a job advertisement, make sure that you do not discriminate based on factors such as race or gender (e.g. seeking a man or woman). Use terms like "with significant experience" only when it is a genuine requirement of the job, as this could discriminate against someone who has not yet had the opportunity to gain experience. You should also ensure that all candidates are treated equally, ask all candidates the same set of questions, and avoid questions that fall under protected characteristics, such as asking someone if they plan to start a family soon.

Creation of an equal opportunity policy: This should determine the protected characteristics, direct and indirect discrimination, and acceptable behavior in the workplace. It will form the foundation of a safe and respectful working environment for your employees and can significantly reduce the risk of unintentional discrimination against staff by helping them understand their rights and responsibilities.

Education: Train your employees on discrimination and inform them of your policies regarding it. It would also be helpful to educate administrative personnel and department managers on how to recognize and manage discrimination.

Respect: You should encourage staff to respect each other's differences.

Complaint management system: If someone complains of being a victim of discrimination, you should handle it quickly and confidentially. Make sure you have implemented a strong complaints process so that staff feels heard and there is respect in their workplace.

Evaluation system: You can create an anonymous or eponymous evaluation system so that you have frequent feedback from your employees.

Lastly, I would like to emphasize that it is our moral duty to create an environment in which people feel free to be themselves, have the courage to express their opinions, and are encouraged to stand out based on the uniqueness of their character and beliefs. We all meet people different from us, and it is our duty to embrace and support them, not marginalize them.

Let's practice motivation and love. Not discrimination and hate.

By Evi Topali, Account Manager of our team! 🎉

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