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Types of Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination in the workplace is a universal problem, not just in Canada, but in workplaces throughout the world. As the focus of national economies become more globalized, there is an increase in the migration of labour, as organizations compete globally for the most talented employees. As a result of this migration of labour, workplaces are becoming increasingly diversified.

Although, much is been done to promote diversity in the workplace, by high-lighting the advantages, there is also a dark-side to diversity as well. On the dark-side, diversity can sometimes give rise to ethnocentrism, in which one tends to view other alien ethnic or cultural groups according to one's own ethnic or cultural values, especially with the belief that one's own group is superior to other groups.

The situation can become more complex when economic factors such as competing for good paying jobs in a recessionary job market, are factored in. A failure to understand diversity in the workplace can often be associated with, or contribute to some forms of discrimination in the workplace.

Types of Discrimination in the Workplace

The more evident forms of workplace discrimination are:

  • Employment discrimination, or discrimination in hiring, (i.e. "facing discrimination at the door"), is commonly experienced by minorities or immigrants when seeking employment in Canada. It is very well concealed by prejudiced and biased hiring personnel, and is very difficult to prove.

  • Age discrimination. This form of discrimination is one of the most common forms of discrimination and unfortunately it is on the increase.

  • Gender discrimination: Gender discrimination continues to be a major problem in the workplace despite the various employment laws and the human rights laws that have been enacted in order to prevent the problem.

  • Racial discrimination: Racial discrimination unfortunately is still a problem in some Canadian workplaces, even though there are laws against discrimination. In many cases this form of discrimination is well concealed.

  • Religious discrimination: In a secular society, even though there are laws guaranteeing religious freedom, religious discrimination still occurs in many workplaces.

  • Sexual discrimination is still a major problem in many Canadian workplaces despite the many laws to prevent it.

  • Disability discrimination has recently gained more public attention due to the number of laws that have been put in place to address this issue.

  • Sexual orientation occurs in many workplaces and is directed at an individual perceived as having a gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or even a heterosexual orientation.

Dealing with Discrimination in the Workplace

Although discrimination in employment can occur in many forms, some incidents will be overt, while others will be more subtle or in some situations concealed. It is important that you recognize discrimination and know your employee rights so that you can protect your legal rights if you have been victimized through discrimination at work.

It is also important to know what laws and legal resources are available to help you when you have been discriminated against. You need to also know the process and procedures of filing a complaint.

See also:

> Discrimination in the Workplace