Workplace discrimination can take many forms, and one of the less frequently discussed yet equally harmful types is origin discrimination.
Origin discrimination occurs when an individual receives unfair treatment due to their place of birth, ancestry, ethnicity or nationality. This type of discrimination can have a detrimental impact on employees and the overall work environment.
Signs of origin discrimination
Recognizing origin discrimination involves understanding the different ways it can manifest in the workplace. It is not always overt. Sometimes, it is subtle and easily missed. This discrimination might present itself in the form of racial slurs, derogatory remarks or stereotyping. Other times, it might be more systemic, observed in the recruitment process where certain candidates get overlooked based on their names or cultural backgrounds.
Impact on individuals and the workplace
The impact of origin discrimination is far-reaching. For individuals, it can lead to feelings of isolation, diminished self-worth and a sense of not belonging in the workplace. This, in turn, can affect mental health, productivity and the overall quality of work. Moreover, the workplace itself suffers as diversity, meant to be a strength, becomes a source of tension.
Legal and moral implications
Addressing origin discrimination is not just a moral imperative but a legal one. The U.S. has anti-discrimination laws in place to protect employees from such biases. These laws aim to promote equal opportunity and fair treatment for all individuals regardless of their background. Employers have a responsibility to create an inclusive environment, fostering respect and appreciation for diversity.
While in modern times one hopes that discrimination will not factor into the workplace, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw a 20% increase in new discrimination charges in FY 2022 over the previous year. Recognizing, addressing and preventing this form of discrimination is essential to create a truly inclusive and equitable professional environment.