Business, Career, Work

What is Considered Discrimination in the Workplace?

Discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of an individual because of one or more of the groups that they belong to or...

What is Considered Discrimination in the Workplace?

Discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of an individual because of one or more of the groups that they belong to or identify with.

Discriminating against somebody because of their protected characteristics (such as age, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation) is unacceptable in any setting. It can be particularly harmful when it occurs in the workplace.

Both employers and employees can be discriminatory towards other people at work. This discrimination can take on several forms, such as unfair treatment or exclusion from social activities.

A person may receive verbal or even physical abuse because of their protected characteristics. Ongoing abuse can have a serious impact on the individual’s health and well-being and may decrease their performance and engagement at work.

What Are the Most Common Types of Discrimination?

There are many different forms of discrimination in the office. An employer or employee may treat somebody unfairly because of any of the following protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Gender identity
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationality
  • Language
  • Religious beliefs
  • Marriage or partnership
  • Pregnancy or maternity

A person can experience discrimination based on more than one of the above factors. Although every employer is required to implement anti-discrimination legislation in the workplace, thousands of workers are still experiencing discrimination at work every year. 

What Can Employers Do to Prevent Workplace Discrimination?

There are lots of great things that employers can do to handle workplace discrimination. If you are an employer, consider the following methods to minimize discriminatory behavior in your office.

Implement Anti-Discrimination Policies

Create several policies that focus on encouraging the equal treatment of every employee. The policy should detail the protected characteristics and forms of discrimination against each characteristic.

Make sure that all employees are aware of these policies and follow them.

Make sure to review and update anti-discrimination policies when necessary.

Recruit a Wide Range of Employees and Avoid Discrimination in Your Advertisements

As an employer who wants to build an inclusive workplace, you should avoid using discrimination in your job advertisements. For example, avoid using the phrases hiring a female receptionist or recruiting young professionals, as this automatically discriminates against certain groups of people.

Educate Your Employees

Make sure every employee knows which behaviors are unacceptable and which are detailed in your important anti-discrimination policies.

Provide Ongoing Training

It’s important to provide training to all of your new staff and provide ongoing training to keep your staff up-to-date on changes to current workplace policies or new policies. Training should help employees to identify and report discrimination in the workplace.

Set An Example

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to set a great example for your employees by treating all of your staff members equally, regardless of background or protected characteristics.

Resolve Discrimination Complaints Quickly

It’s important to resolve complaints as quickly as possible. If an employee is experiencing discrimination in the workplace, taking immediate action to tackle the issue prevents the issue from getting worse.


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Written by Kajal Gill
I work as a digital strategist.

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