Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Track Workplace Disparities

Disparate treatment occurs when employers have different standards for different groups of people and when they apply rules, policies and procedures inconsistently because of these differences.

In simpler terms, one group is somehow being treated better by receiving some form of preferential treatment. For instance, White and African American employees with the same education and experience don’t receive the same pay. The African Americans may receive $5,000 to $15,000 less per year than their White counterparts with no justification for the lesser pay for Blacks.

By tracking disparate treatment on your job, you can show patterns of discrimination that are in effect at your workplace. For instance, if African Americans can only work on African American projects, while Whites work on “mainstream” and minority contracts, that might be one way to show unequal opportunities at work.

Highlighting employee qualifications (e.g., education, years of experience, etc.) versus salaries and titles could potentially show unequal treatment. For instance, a White employee with a Bachelor’s degree and 3 years of experience makes $45,000 per year and is level 4 employee, while an African American with a Bachelor’s degree, a certification in a specific aspect of the field relevant to the job, and 6 years of experience receives $38,000 per year and is a level 3 employee.

Another way to show disparate treatment and discrimination could include identifying the number of African Americans promoted in the previous 5 years compared to the number of Whites promoted in the previous 5 years. If only 4 African Americans received a promotion and more than 50 Whites received a promotion, for example, something is truly amiss at your job. This, of course, depends on the number of Blacks on your job. If there are only 10 Blacks at your company, for instance, the major problem is not in promotions, but in hiring practices!

Track disparities and use your chart/log to address issues directly with your employer or with a third party, such as an external investigator or attorney.


Blogger Hattie said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



11:54 PM  
Anonymous For Rent By Owner said...

Yes,, you are right.... Groups make Disparities....

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I use phone records to show that I reached out to HR on several occassions, to no avail, to discuss resolution in regards to a supervisors discriminating behavior?

3:34 PM  
Blogger Fighter said...

It is very difficult to find out how much each employee gets paid. It is not something that we talk about because it causes tension & hostility. So, I don’t know how I can get around this one.

5:59 PM  
Blogger S. Mary Wills said...

Thanks for the compliment, Hattie, I hope you keep checking back.

Anonymous, yes, phone records can be submitted as evidence to show you made the calls. The problem is you may have HR staff lie about ever receiving a message or they may say that they called you back and you are making up claims that they were non-responsive.

It's always a good idea to follow up phone calls with emails stating that you've left a voicemail about x,y, z issue and look forward to speaking to them to come up with some solutions. Never be too emotional, when writing, and try to be specific without being overly so. You don't want an email so generic that it doesn't prove what you were calling to discuss, so definitely but the cause of your attempted contact in writing so you can submit a printout of the email as evidence. Also, request a delivery and read receipts in your email program. This will prove the message was received and you can also prove that it was opened (or not!).

Fighter, you're right, salaries can be tricky. Getting access depends on who is in what job or how openly people talk about what they make. I've worked at more than a few places where workers weren't discreet with salary information, but that doesn't happen everywhere. It's amazing what gets left at the printer/copier for a moment too long or what you can see sitting on someone's desk. Sometimes a bit of spying will turn up a few nuggets of info, but sometimes not. Definitely don't risk your job trying to find out about salaries. But, someone always knows and may be tripped up into revealing information.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response

9:25 AM  
Blogger Nathaniel said...

Thank you so much for this very important info blog. It has help me to get a good understanding about issues in the workplace. Please keep up the excellent work. Thanks a MILLION!!!


8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this community. I have been talking myself off the ledge for over 2 years, even with statistical email evidence in my posession. The comments about salary are particularly timely for me, and you could not be more correct: people would be surprised by the salary information that is casually left around, within reach. That scenario led me to my "smoking gun" and I found out the disparity is worse than I was even aware of. I became physically ill as this reality was revealed. I immediately printed it and contacted an attorney. Taking a series of deep breaths each day, as this life altering journey will begin next week.

Found Courage

7:21 AM  

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