Discrimination at the workplace exists when one employee or the other receives better treatment not because of merit but because of some other factor namely race, caste, gender or age. A manager of any other superior with the power to promote colleagues may choose someone who he has better ties with or generally likes more than others because of his own personal beliefs is discrimination at the workplace and should be prohibited.
There a lot of measures one can take to deal with discrimination in the workplace where people in power marginalize others as sometimes they feel threatened by them and at others they just underestimate them. Unless the manager has not given a transparent account of the performance or shared a performance review, you must keep visiting the HR to get a clear answer.
#1. Check With Everyone
If an employee gets promoted on other grounds and not merit, it is necessary to check and ask your peers the question, "Why was he/she picked and not us?" It is important to ask and know what others are thinking about so that you are separated from your agitation and bitterness towards the one who is promoted. When you start asking others this question, you will come across all kinds of answers. Some employees will tell you that they are not even fully informed about the company policy and that will certainly shock you. This will serve as an important step in realizing that what we feel often depends on what we know. If the employees knew that you could only get promoted after completing one year and meeting a specific mark in your performance review, they wouldn’t say that the promotion was because a new employee was hired or the company policy says if you have full attendance and complete daily work you will for sure receive a promotion. When everyone knows everything about the company policy and still disagrees about the promotion not out of resentment but because they see bias is at play, it will surely stir the organization over the manager’s decision making higher authorities interfere.
#2. Keep A HandBook
Sometimes when people don’t take you seriously because you are fairly new in the organization or they term you too young to put any weight on what you have to say, it can develop strained relationships among you and them. It is important that you highlight the importance of what you know and get them out of their narrow-mindedness. Most people confidently believe that what they were like at a certain age is the truth for other people as well. Don’t let their patronizing attitude rob you of your chances of self-advancement. Keep a handbook in which you have the instructions and rules that must be followed by everyone in the organization and show them to your manager when someone oversteps them. This will seem strange and little to over-committed, but it will sure stop people from disobeying rules and instructions and forming a work culture that runs on nepotism instead of merit.
#3. Avoid Singling Out
Sometimes unknowingly people voice their personal beliefs which can come across as derogatory and be degrading to others. The remarks may range from holding a higher perspective of their gender, race, caste or age which makes them belittle other people and it’s okay if they behave this way on their personal time but in the organization, it just cannot be tolerated. You must tread carefully when informing this to them because if you reprimand them for their behavior in public, they may feel discriminated against as other people will agree with you leading the one being spoken to feel singled out and even attacked. You need to play the bigger person here by meeting them one on one and requesting them to change their behavior.
#4. Understand Harassment
Harassment is when we aggressively intimidate someone with relentless pressure into believing something we strongly believe in and they do not attack them on the basis of their traits that is different to that of our own. It’s a situation where despite knowing that another person believes otherwise we keep on insisting that they are wrong and continually present themselves with our view. Harassment can only stop when we learn to respect other people’s no and when we do that, we will stop encouraging their peers who talk about their beliefs as if they are universally accepted norms of thought process and behavior. It is important to understand the concept of harassment so that they stop whoever indulges in it and never indulge in it themselves.
#5. Understand Favouritism
Once again in order to deal with discrimination at the workplace, one needs to understand what favoritism is. At times people feel they have been sidelined whenever two people are talking near them, and they are not a part of this conversation, and when they don’t talk to someone as much as their peer, they start feeling left out and discriminated against. This is not real prejudice and is one imagined entirely by you as a result of false deductions. You need to understand that silence is not humiliating, it’s just silence and favoritism occurs only when decisions are made. Read only the decisions and actions taken by your superiors and peers instead of trying to overthink their behavior.
#6. Confide In Your Friend
This has to be a friend who is not your workplace friend as people who work at your place may not give your opinion or advice that is free from their attachment or hatred for the person you are speaking about. Sharing this with your friend who is not involved in the workplace will offer a new perspective on the workplace politics and better understand who does what and for whom. This will confirm what you are feeling is really the issue or you are just venting out of frustration.
#7. Talk To Yourself
Now that you have asked your peers and your friends and checked the HR policies again and again desperately searching for a loophole to ensure that no wicked games are going on, be rest assured! When wicked games go around us they inspire evil and we start hatching plans to sideline and hurt others. What you need to ask yourself is, do you want to get corrupted by discrimination the same way others around you have been or do you want to leave them altogether and practice your skills in another organization? Will that organization be any different as the need for people to form relationships is humongous and cannot be eliminated at all? How will you tackle it there if you were unable to handle it here? If you take this issue up with the HR will you see overturning decisions? These are the thing you need to consider before taking steps for your welfare and equality.
#8. Suggest Constructive Changes
A lot of times people who are from the same ethnicity or culture choose to sit with each other from the time their work starts to the time it ends. This makes their bond stronger all the while alienating them from other people. This can create a big distance between two employees who work in the same organization as they have not spoken to each other at all during their time. Certainly, the company cannot force someone to socialize with another but they can do to help reduce the distance between two people by assigning them work which will demand the use of their technique and skillset. This will reduce the gap between people and help them know everyone in the organization and thus judge the person on merit instead of imagining what they think the person is like. Any organization which rotates all its employees like this has a sure shot at eliminating discrimination altogether and taking the parameter of performance as the sole indicator of advancement.
#9. Build Employee Morale Regularly
When employees are working a lot and are under constant pressure to perform it can take it’s toll on them as they are ever striving to do more than they can and increase their reach. This leads to mental exhaustion as all of us arrive at a point where we feel that we have already done it and what more can we add to it to take it further? Encouragement from you really counts because it dismissed thoughts of being just a cog in the wheel and not the big wheel. Every employee must be told that what they do, they do best and they shine in their domain and are vital to the success of their organization.
#10. Understand LeaderShip
A lot of employees need to know what leadership is all about. It is not only about giving orders and being authoritative at all times but also telling the employees when they are right and admitting when you are wrong. This sets the knowledge that it is not egomaniacal rule where the leader believes what he does and think to be right is the best thing for the betterment of those he/ she leads. It can often invite dissent and create conflicts when employees are asked not to question and think for themselves. Discrimination will never exist under a leader who shares his power with everyone from time to time.
Share with us instances of discrimination at your workplace and the anti-discriminatory policies that came into effect to help you.