Workplace discrimination is a major concern in today’s business community. Increase in cultural and gender diversity in the workplace has obligated employees from different ethnicities and backgrounds to work together for meet the goals of the business.
Usually, different people have a tendency to lead to misunderstandings, and result in conflict and discrimination. Therefore, employers have a responsibility to their workers to protect them from discrimination and unfair treatment in the workplace.
Workplace discrimination refers to a situation where the employee is placed at a disadvantage compared to other employees who are in a similar situation, misconduct or actions are based on discriminatory reasons.
Workplace discrimination may be related to, for instance, job advertising, hiring, work duties, training, career advancement, duration of employment and so on. Workplace discrimination may occur between colleagues, employee and employer, or between an employee and a third party.
Workplace discrimination may come in many forms and affect anyone within an organisation. More or less forms of discrimination display obvious signs of improper behaviour while other signs of discrimination are more subtle. Harassing behaviour may come from a superior, co-worker, client or anyone within the organisation.
Direct discrimination occurs when a person treats, or proposes to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic protected by law. Direct discrimination often happens because people make unfair assumptions about what people with certain personal characteristics can and cannot do. For instance, refusing to employ someone on the basis of their age because of thinking they are too old to learn new skills.
Indirect discrimination arises when an unreasonable condition is imposed that disadvantages a person with a personal characteristic protect by law. Indirect discrimination take place when a workplace policy, practice or behaviour seems to treat all workers the same way, but it actually unfairly disadvantages someone because of a personal characteristic protected by law. For example, a requirement for employees to work very hour shifts may appear to treat everyone equally. However, it may disadvantage employees with family or caring responsibilities. If the requirement is not reasonable, this is indirect discrimination.
Reverse discrimination occurs against members of a dominant or majority group, in favour of members of a minority or historically disadvantaged group. Programs or systems that mean to correct past mistreatment of historically disadvantaged groups might actually end up discriminating against historically advantaged groups.
Protected classes discrimination in the workplace is illegal when the victim is a member of a protected category, for example, gender, age, religion, race, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin and disability.
Employees have the right to file a complaint against their employer if they sense they have been unfairly discriminated against or harassed at work. An employee has the option to file a formal complaint with their employer first if experience discriminatory behaviour. If the employer fails to mitigate the situation or protect the employee from further harm, the employee may solicit the help of anti-discrimination authorities.
Employers must protect their workers from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. They must take the proper measures to stop unwanted harassing behaviour. Failure to do this can result in fines, lawsuits or even criminal penalties against the company. Employers are also responsible for creating reasonable accommodations for employees or applicants that have a disability and require special services.
Even though employees have many anti-discrimination rights, they are also responsible for their own safety. Employees are obligated to inform employers of any harassment they experience or any special accommodations they may need within the workplace. They are further obligated to protect themselves from additional harm if at all possible. Failure to do so could release an employer from liability claims that may result in the future. Employers that are unaware of an employee’s needs are not in a position to support them.
If anyone feels that the person being discriminated at work, person should contact the immediate boss or some other representative of the employer and talk to them about the solution, treatment or behaviour that have experienced as discriminatory and ask for a report on the issue. If the employer unable to justify the solution that the person experienced as discriminatory with any fact or circumstance related to the work, or if the employer does not respond to the request for the report, employee may contact trade union or the occupational safety/security authority responsible for occupational safety, security and health. The non-discrimination policy obliges employers to promote equality in the workplace and to prevent discrimination at work.
Taslim Ahammad, Assistant Professor
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj, Bangladesh
&T.A Research & Training Center