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Women, minorities report discrimination in tech industry

Reports from women who work in the tech industry, and minority women in particular, indicate that racism and sexism continue to be a serious problem in New York and throughout the country. In 2015, only 11 percent of leadership positions in Silicon Valley were held by women while at tech giants like Facebook, Yahoo and Apple, African-Americans held 3 percent or fewer leadership positions. One woman reported being told to her face that black women could not succeed at this type of work.

Several women reported problems with sexual harassment during interviews, and one said that when she tried to deal with the harassment in her workplace, she got no help from her employer. Later, when she mentioned the problem to a recruiter, the recruiter hung up and would not contact her again.

Sometimes, the discrimination may be more subtle. One woman in the gaming industry reported that in the first all-male group she worked in, everyone was invited to the boss's house one day except for her and one gay man. These social occasions tend to facilitate progress at work such as promotions and bonuses, and women and minorities often simply do not have access to them. Furthermore, some employers seek what they call a "cultural fit" that seeks more employees like themselves rather than a diverse team.

As these examples demonstrate, discrimination in the workplace may appear subtle and hard to prove. People who are in a legally-protected category and who are dealing with harassment or discrimination might want to begin documenting the incidents so that they have both a written record and proof of a pattern. They might also want to consult an attorney even if they initially plan to try to deal with the situation internally so that they can be sure that they understand their rights.

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