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Identifying Discrimination in the Workplace

The average American will spend more than ten full years clocking in and out of work, according to To ensure you spend that time in a healthy work environment, it is important to recognize and acknowledge when things aren’t right. The most common forms of discrimination are race, gender, and age. Here’s how to identify all three in your workplace.

Racial Discrimination

Racial or ethnic discrimination is prohibited under multiple state and federal laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, since the 1960’s, racial bias in the workplace has continued to be an issue. In 2013, McReynolds, et al. v. Merrill Lynch & Co, 700 African American brokers who worked for Merrill Lynch were awarded $160 million for being denied equal pay and advancement opportunities compared to their Caucasian colleagues. To find out if you are being racially discriminated against, check the numbers. Research your company’s hiring and promotion trends to see if there is a pattern. If your superiors cannot validate their hiring practices, you may want to contact an employment lawyer.

Gender Discrimination

The proverbial glass ceiling continues to be broken every year as more women become CEOs, CFOs, and presidents of major corporations. However, even the largest industries aren’t immune to this archaic form of prejudice. A group of female advisors filed suit against Bank of America in 2010, Calibuso, et al. v. Bank Of America, claiming systematic discrimination. The women were awarded $39 million, and the bank was ordered to review its policies and practices. Much like any form of discrimination, gender bias can reflect a societal stereotype. Companies should educate from the top down to ensure their leadership sets the right example of equality in the office.

Age Discrimination

In the US, there are about 3 million more workers over age 65 than there were a decade ago, according to Quartz. As the workforce continues to age, managers need to lead the way in making every employee feel welcomed and empowered. This was not the case for a 66-year-old Los Angeles man who testified that his superiors at Staples habitually harassed him. In 2014, a jury awarded Bob Nickel $26 million for this form of age discrimination.

Most importantly, if you ever see a coworker being discriminated against or feel a prejudice is being put against you, speak up! Your actions will pave the way for a better work environment in the future.