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Microagressions in the workplace, another form of discrimination

Women in the workplace have had to fight for their right to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts. However, the battle continues for all women, especially women of color. For one New York woman, her ongoing battle is now being fought in the courtroom. Her employer, energy provider Con Edision hired her as one of the first black women to be working in a role that is normally held by white males. Despite negative comments from her male-counterparts, she was determined to do her job well and eventually move up the ladder to a supervisory role.

In order to accomplish her goal, she attended night school and eventually earned her master’s degree and an additional certification in electrical engineering. Coupled with her years of experience out in the field, she thought she would be a shoe-in for the supervisory roles that she applied for in the company. However, time and time again, she was passed over for someone with less qualifications who was white and male.

This woman’s story, while discouraging, isn’t unique by any sense of the word. Some behaviors, such as a worker treating another of a different race differently, albeit unconsciously, continue to be experienced by many workers-of-color.

In fact, one author shared that even though many companies today have anti-discrimination rules in effect, they cannot seem to thwart what is known as microagressions in the workplace. Microagressions, such as a backhanded compliment, a comment that can be taken multiple ways, which expresses surprise at how articulate or skilled another colleague may be at his or her job is still experienced by many.

Regardless of what form discrimination in the workplace takes, it can never be justified. If you feel like you have been discriminated against by other workers or your employer, it may be time to discuss your situation with someone who understands the laws surrounding your case.

Source: CNN Wire, “Working while brown: What discrimination looks like now,” Nov. 27, 2015

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