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The subtle forms of workplace discrimination

According to a study released on March 21, workplace discrimination in New York and throughout the country may sometimes take subtle forms or may not be immediately recognizable until incidents begin to form a pattern. However, this degree of bias may still be enough to lead to a lawsuit. Researchers identified several different ways in which people were discriminated against at work because of factors such as disability, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and pregnancy, among others.

Some employees were criticized for qualities or behaviors that would have been desirable in other employees who were young, male or white. Employees also reported managers who seemed intent on finding fault with them. Others said that due to their age, race or other characteristics, they were not considered credible. In some workplaces, coworkers or managers made discriminatory comments about people who were not employees. Some workers tried to claim that discriminatory comments were a joke. Employees were sometimes excluded from social gatherings and meetings or from receiving necessary information.

About two-thirds of the 500 people who participated in the survey reported that the discrimination they experienced affected their morale and their commitment to their companies. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, regular training in recognizing and dealing with discrimination is important for employees and managers.

People who believe they are facing discrimination or harassment in the workplace might want to discuss their concerns with an attorney even if they plan to talk to a manager or human resources about the problem. An attorney may be able to explain their rights to them and help them in putting together a course of action. For example, the attorney might suggest that the employee document all the instances of discrimination in order to show a pattern of behavior or suggest steps to take in case of retaliation.

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