Examples of Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
Each situation is different because people and workplaces are different. One racist coworker or a company promoting racism is going to be different from the next, even though there may be some similarities in the excuses used to deny or to marginalize or to justify the incidents in the workplace.
When it comes to explaining to someone the severity of what has happened, think of how you can categorize the incidences into discriminatory and/or harassing and/or retaliatory behavior. Based on the particulars in your workplace, you may argue one or all of these things. Here are some examples that can help you tweak the points you are making about your workplace environment: (This is somewhat subjective. Depending on your circumstances, these examples may be more appropriate falling into another category. For instance, harassing behavior on this list may be more appropriately referred to, in your circumstance, as retaliatory behavior if the behavior was only experienced following a complaint. Or, you may to decide to refer to it as harassing and retaliatory behavior, when describing the hostile work environment that resulted from complaining.)
Examples of situations that may indicate discrimination are:
· a company that doesn’t post job openings and routinely fills positions with Whites from both inside and outside the company--without African Americans and other minorities having first cracks at the job as an internal hire;
· unequal pay for African Americans performing the same work as Whites (with similar education and work experience);
· segregating African American employees to only work on African American projects and contracts;
· isolating and segregating African Americans by assigning them to work only in specific locations;
· reclassifying jobs at a lower level and assigning African Americans to perform the work;
· routinely denying African Americans promotions;
· laying off African American employees, while White counterparts maintain their jobs; and
· asking potential employees to identify their race on an employment application, which might indicate that race may be a factor in hiring decisions.
Examples of harassment/a hostile work environment might include:
· personal attacks based on stereotypes and racist assumptions;
· a supervisor that regularly screams directly into the face of subordinate, in private or in front of coworkers;
· physical threats of violence or actual physical abuse (e.g., shoving or bumping);
· verbal abuse/put-downs, name calling or the use of racial epithets or slang;
· job threats/intimidation;
· intentionally malicious and false gossip;
· stare down contests; or
· intentional humiliation.
Examples of retaliation (for complaining about race-based discrimination or misconduct or for participating in an investigation into discriminatory behavior, etc.) might include:
· stripping an employee of their staff;
· salary cuts;
· the denial of standard employee benefits (e.g., use of leave, etc.);
· a demotion;
· a transfer to a hard-to-reach office;
· stripping an employee of their workload/assignments; or
· an intentionally negative and malicious performance evaluation; or
· the denial of an anticipated promotion.
Try to be as specific as possible, when describing your situation. Write a narrative about your situation that could be understood by a child. Don't assume people will easily get your points. Spell out what you are trying to say by being very clear. Always write about the impact of actions taken against you--personally and professionally. And, always maintain a list of witnesses, who can support the allegations you are making. Write what they saw, when they saw it, and if they had any role in what was happening.