Diversity

Are You Experiencing Discrimination at Work? Signs and What to Do about It

Workplace Discrimination

When one experiences workplace discrimination, it can be disheartening. For the victim, lost income, reduced work productivity and dissatisfaction, isolation, stress, and unemployment or underemployment often result. Places where workplace discrimination occurs frequently suffer from low employee morale, high turnover, and unfavorable productivity. Since work is an important part of true inclusion in our society, one must highlight how workplace discrimination divides and marginalizes people, both as individuals and groups.

What is Illegal Workplace Discrimination?

To count as discrimination in the legal sense, actions must violate legal protections. All U.S. workers are protected by federal law, which specifically forbids discrimination based on color, national origin, race, religion, sex, mental or physical disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or parenthood.

State laws also protect workers from discrimination based on those characteristics, plus other ones enacted by state legislatures. For example, many states have laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation. Also, many cities have laws that specifically prohibit other forms of workplace discrimination.

What are the Signs of Workplace Discrimination?

Signs of workplace discrimination may be overt and/or subtle. For example, a boss directly hinging a promotion on sexual favors would be overt sexual discrimination and harassment. A boss hinting about sexual favors and then claiming an employee who didn’t respond has poor work performance would be a more subtle form of sexual discrimination and harassment.

While overt signs of workplace discrimination are clear, subtle signs often start with small phenomena and then increase over time, frequently engendering a hostile and unhealthy atmosphere. Subtle signs often reveal themselves as patterns. For example, a male employee may make increasingly offensive comments about a female coworker after she refused to date him. The comments may begin as ones open to interpretation, but, over time, the harasser continues the pattern while his comments grow increasingly offensive, which constitutes a clear case of sexual harassment.

Signs of workplace discrimination often manifest themselves in adverse actions taken against an employee. Adverse actions include disciplinary action, failure to promote, demotion, unlawful retaliation, failure to accommodate protected leave, and wrongful termination. Because of equal opportunity employment safeguards, when an adverse action is taken on the basis of a protected characteristic, bad actors usually try to camouflage their discriminatory conduct by claiming a pretext for the adverse action.

A manager, for example, may refuse to promote a woman who earned a higher position because he thinks women are inferior leaders, which violates the law. To cover his tracks, he may give her an unjustified poor performance review and then use it as a pretext to deny the promotion. An adverse action paired with a pretext is a conspicuous sign of discrimination.

What Should Discrimination Victims Do about It?

Though a natural fear of rocking the proverbial boat can emerge, discrimination victims should contact their organization’s human resources department or a company manager. Once the employee has notified the human resources director, the company becomes obligated to investigate and correct any illegal discrimination. In many organizations, this solves the problem; in others, unfortunately, it yields no real change. Human resources departments are to intervene in ways that protect victims and rectify their problems.

In other organizations, investigations may favor the harasser because of power dynamics, politics, and other reasons. In this case, victims should consult an employment lawyer immediately. An employment attorney can inform victims about options available.

Victims of discrimination can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or their state’s Department of Human Rights. These agencies will investigate and attempt to settle the matter. If the matter cannot be settled by the agencies, victims can file a lawsuit in state or federal court.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Resources Consulted

The Balance

Law Offices of Jeremy Pasternak

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The American Association of University Women

The Nest

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U.S. Cities With the Worst Record of Housing Discrimination

 

Downtown Atlanta

(Photo Credit: Thrillist)

 

While legislation and policies like the Fair Housing Act and the Housing and Community Development Act have criminalized housing discrimination, it is still a subtle but stark reality in today’s market. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that, on average, minority tenants are informed about 10% to 12% fewer units than white tenants. Furthermore, the homeownership rate is 30% higher for white Americans than black Americans. A report from the National Fair Housing Alliance found that about 1 in 5 formal complaints about housing discrimination are race-related. It is second only to disability-related claims, and the number of race-related claims is thought to be low because many incidents are not reported.

Tenant screening, whether systemic or subconscious, is a real issue that not only affects the ability for minorities to access housing but also has a market effect. With all other qualifications being equal, studies show that prospective minority tenants are shown fewer options than prospective white tenants. Based on a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report, the cities below have the worst track record when it comes to tenant screening-related metrics:

Detroit

7.3% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.23% fewer available units.

Atlanta

5.4% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.46% fewer available units.

Miami

2.3% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.11% fewer available units.

Houston

1.55% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.3% fewer available units.

Dallas

1.5% more white tenants than nonwhite tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.23% fewer available units.

New York

1.1% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.155% fewer available units.

Chicago

0.95% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.14% fewer available units.

Riverside

0.8% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.17% fewer available units.

Conclusion

Discrimination is an ugly thing, and recent years have seen more than their fair share. But there is reason to be optimistic! As more and more neighborhoods integrate and neighborhood bonds form across racial bounds, ties of understanding and acceptance will continue to be forged. It’s important that we engage each other with civility and understand our shared goals as we seek to further these conversations.

References

https://www.huduser.gov/portal/Publications/pdf/HUD-514_HDS2012.pdf

http://www.jdpalatine.com/services/tenant-screening/

http://time.com/money/4665272/mortgage-homeownership-racial-gap-discrimination-inequality/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/business/economy/discrimination-in-housing-against-nonwhites-persists-quietly-us-study-finds.html

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Is Your Last Name Affecting Your Job Search?

 

What’s in a name? Apparently, if you’re job hunting, it can mean everything.

Implicit Biases

As a nation and as individuals, implicit biases inform every aspect of daily life, from which neighborhoods we’re willing to visit to our job hiring practices. A good job correlates directly to improved living conditions, happiness, health, and a plethora of other positive incentives. However, as a minority, obtaining a quality job in a country rooted in predominantly white history and culture can be tough. Even people who are white-identifying, but have an ethnic-sounding surname, face this problem: they receive less callbacks and less offers for interviews, despite their resumes clearly indicating they’re qualified for the job. Why?

Otherness and Race

This phenomenon has been studied extensively in academia, whereby surnames that fall outside of an established norm (i.e. a culture of whiteness) inevitably elicit a knee-jerk response of distrust and “otherness.” A study conducted in 2003, “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” by Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, evidences this point.

In this study, fictitious resumes were sent out in response to wanted ads in Boston and Chicago. Each resume was rife with references, relevant experience, and deftness of form—the only difference was the name attached to each. Resumes had either stereotypical white-sounding names or stereotypical African-American names. The results were staggering.

For white-sounding names, callbacks for interviews occurred at a rate 50% greater than African-American names. And that wasn’t all: even when African-American names were attached to glowing resumes, they still received incredibly low levels of interest. White-sounding names attached to similarly stellar resumes received a 30% increase in callbacks. The conclusion? The amount of discrimination is uniform across all occupations and industries, and when an applicant has a white-sounding name, it is the equivalent of having eight more years of experience.

Unfortunately, phenomena haven’t changed since 2003. In 2014, another study was conducted that substantiated the findings of the 2003 study—proving that employers, in their hiring practices, are inferring something apart from race in a potential employee’s name.

In fact, it seems employers are making several assumptions based on preconceived notions about the cultures attached to ethnic-sounding surnames. When a white-sounding name is held as the golden standard, anything that falls outside of that realm finds itself faced with accusations of being unreliable, a less productive worker, or incompetent (i.e. an untrustworthy, “othered” individual). Certain ethnic names might carry with them the weight of assumed criminal responsibility, too, and be subject to excessive background checks or even more scrupulous Google searches for social media accounts.

Names Do Matter

In a culture like this, names are everything. Employers want the best candidate possible, and in that search, it is difficult, if not impossible, to detangle oneself from the web of preconceived notions and implicit biases that inform our culture of whiteness. As such, white-sounding names, names that are “easier to pronounce,” “more familiar,” and, most importantly, “non-other,”  unfortunately, take precedence, and equally talented minorities struggle to find a job they are more than qualified for.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Connect Intellectual Diversity to Justice Work

Diversity and Justice

(Photo Credit: Democracy Now)

Although an aggressive pursuit of racial, social, economic, and educational justice is admirable and necessary, those engaged in justice work must connect intellectual diversity to their efforts. You cannot claim to champion justice while failing to welcome and appreciate ideas and viewpoints divergent from your own. Justice isn’t justice when it’s disconnected from love. In fact, Dr. Cornel West, one of the greatest minds, public intellectuals, and fighters for justice in world history, often says, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Are you so “woke” that you only see your ideas and viewpoints as the vehicles through which change can be instigated and engendered?

Democracy, Intellectual Diversity, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When looking at how to create change, one doesn’t have to look any further than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a real change agent and justice leader, the man who changed America forever. King met, engaged, and debated everyone, including racists and those desiring to kill and undermine him. He understood to develop solutions that have broad support discourse with those known and perceived to be disagreeable is required. The world-renowned slain civil rights leader was serious about democracy, keenly aware of how frank debate, especially with various opposing sides, is essential to an authentic multivocal, multiethnic democracy.

Kingian democracy, therefore, longs for inclusion, inclusion of all voices—regardless of how unsavory—revealing an unwavering faith in democratic ethics and possibilities. In Prophetic Fragments: Illuminations of the Crisis in American Religion and Culture, Cornel West (1988) asserts that: “King was convinced that despite the racism of the Founding Fathers, the ideals of America were sufficient if only they were taken seriously in practice. Therefore, King’s condemnation of and lament for America’s hypocrisy and oppression of poor whites, indigenous peoples, Latinos, and black people was put forward in the name of reaffirming America’s mission of embodying democracy, freedom, and equality” (p. 11).

King didn’t exclude the racist Founding Fathers from his notion of democracy. Unfortunately, though, too many in the postmodern epoch isolate themselves from others for far less critical differences. In this moment of increasing moral, social, cultural, political, and religious decadence, people will isolate themselves from others over the most inconsequential personal choices, including a choice not to “boycott” the NFL or make posts on social media platforms that pledge allegiance to their capricious brands of “woke.”

King embraced the reality that any valid notion of freedom and democracy must welcome intellectual diversity. As Booker T. Washington stated in his 1895 “Atlanta Compromise” speech delivered at the Cotton Estates and International Exposition in Atlanta, “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” Washington, sharing some affinities with King, understood the power of intellectual diversity. Washington anticipates the Kingian “beloved community.” With agapic love, King evinced for a nation, for the globe how potent, how beautiful diversity in all of its flavors can be and how we can enjoy being “separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand.”

Postmodern Fragmentation: A Challenge for Justice Work

In Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, leading Marxist cultural theorist Fredric Jameson (1991) asserts that one of the central problems in postmodernism, the cultural and historical period in which we reside, is a general proclivity to cherish fragmentation and reject totality. This fatuous acceptance of fragmentation figures prominently in whether efforts to achieve racial social, economic, and educational justice are successful. Late capitalism’s cultural logic leads too many individuals, individuals claiming to work for justice, to quarrel with one another over their petty differences, sacrificing their collective interests and aspirations for their own selfish interests and wishes.

Selfishness and Justice

To overcome this troubling propensity for selfishness, courageous and indefatigable justice activists and leaders must expose the rot, the funk selfishness is. We should never allow our personal agendas and interests to hinder and supercede the collective good, interests, and aspirations. When we do, we equip and permit the elites, the oppressors, the ruling class to erect additional barriers to the work of justice that’s crucial to achieving justice.

Before you disengage with people, especially those who have the same interests and goals as you (just with differing ideas and methods pertaining to those interests and goals), recognize when your words and actions are self-defeating, frustrating the very justice work you profess to hold dear.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Asante Lloyd: A Shining Star for The Why You? Initiative

Asante Lloyd

(Photo Credit: Asante Lloyd)

One of the most important services offered by The Why You? Initiative, a national non-profit organization committed to advancing and empowering young students and young professionals, is mentoring. In Critique of Pure Reason, renowned German philosopher Immanuel Kant posits that “Examples are the go-cart of judgment.” From Kant’s perspective, therefore, if a person desires quality judgment, then he or she needs quality examples. The Why You? Initiative, affectionately known as “[YU?],” is increasingly becoming a national leader in supplying America with the effective examples this perilous and disconcerting epoch necessitates. Under the leadership of Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker and Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels, [YU?] Co-Founders, and their executive leadership team, Marie Beasley, Donald Dantzler, and John Hubbard, the next generation of national and international leaders in sundry fields and spaces are emerging. Asante Lloyd, a native of Augusta, Georgia, is one such future leader the organization is developing.

Mr. Lloyd, a junior Civil Engineering major at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, plans to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering after graduating with his undergraduate degree. Over the past three years, Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels has served as Asante’s main mentor. Daniels has known him since he was a toddler. Through an extended discourse with Daniels, Lloyd became inspired to earn a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. His original plan was to begin his career in the field after earning his undergraduate degree. [YU?] motivates young students and young professionals across the nation to reach their highest potential. Dr. Daniels is keenly aware of Asante’s intellectual acumen and does not want him to limit himself to earning just an undergraduate degree. Lloyd appreciates this academic advisement, and he has resolved to expand his career possibilities by embarking on the challenging, yet rewarding journey to a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.

As a high school student-athlete, Mr. Lloyd excelled academically and athletically, receiving numerous awards for football and track and superior academic achievement. He was even named Scholar-Athlete of the Year during his final year in high school. Asante evinced the reality that black male student-athletes can experience greatness in the classroom and fields and courts of athletic competition. He graduated with honors from a competitive magnate high school in Augusta, Georgia, obtaining a nationally and internationally reputable international baccalaureate (IB) diploma. Although he loves Mathematics and Science, and has always performed really well in those subjects, Asante has made great grades in all subjects. As Lloyd enters his junior year, his academic success persists—he’s still an honor student.

While his academic and athletic prowess and success are noteworthy, they do not even compare to his character. Asante is the type of child any parent desires to have. His parents, Felicia Mack and Roderick Lloyd, have done an excellent job rearing him, and they are quite proud of the accomplished young man he has become. One never hears a credible negative word spoken about him.

[YU?] prides itself on helping young students and young professionals, especially those who emerge from underrepresented backgrounds, to secure meaningful internships, including nationally competitive ones. This is why the organization’s leadership was enthused about Mr. Lloyd being selected last summer as a Scholar-Intern by the United States Department of Energy (DOE).  Impressed by his work last summer, Asante’s supervisors at the DOE invited him to return this summer to work for the agency at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, and he recently completed this summer’s internship experience at the DOE.

As a DOE Scholar-Intern, Mr. Lloyd gained valuable research experience in the field, and he was able to make significant contributions to the DOE, contributions that will benefit all Americans. He was able to gain knowledge and critical insights from national and international experts in his field, and these two years of experience have buttressed his understanding of how to engage in sophisticated research, apply data-driven approaches to solving complex problems, and work collaboratively with novice and experienced engineers.

[YU?] salutes Asante Lloyd for his accomplishments and for operating in a spirit of excellence.

If you would like to learn more about the work The Why You? Initiative does and would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit http://www.whyyou.org. You may also donate to the organization by texting “YU” to 41444.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

Co-Founder

The Why You? Initiative

Pop-Up Sermon: Don’t Exploit the Orlando Pulse Nightclub Tragedy

Pulse Nightclub Victims

(Photo Credit: New York Daily News)

The proper response from the Church is to show the Orlando Pulse Nightclub victims, their families, friends and associates love as they confront tragedy. Yes, it’s always the right time to offer salvation but never the right time to spew condemnation, shame, guilt, and hate (all forms of venom). When one condemns another, he or she condemns himself or herself: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Romans 2:1). This isn’t the time for you to advance your anti-LGBTQ agendas; it’s the time for you to demonstrate to members of the LGBTQ community and those affected by the Orlando mass shooting how much God loves them.

We will never be effective in winning souls for Christ by coming from a place of hate, emerging from a toxic spirit of self-righteousness. As a minister of the Gospel of Grace, I have a righteous indignation toward those members of the clergy and professing Christians whom pervert the Gospel with their prejudices and hateful and violent rhetoric, making the propagating of the Gospel troubling and ineffective for many.

I have heard a preacher attempt to camouflage his attack on the LGBTQ people involved in the Orlando massacre. He posited that they were responsible for their own deaths because of how they were living and what they were doing. Hmm…was he in this nightclub too? How does he know what they were doing? Was he in the bedroom with these folks also? Hmm… To be fair (insert sarcasm), he did add, “We are to show them love.” Sorry, sir, those folks didn’t walk into that gay nightclub to be killed. How ignorant of you! For the record, on the night of the heinous mass shooting, heterosexual people were in attendance also.

Did those Christians at the Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina go to Bible Study to be murdered by Dylann Roof? Exactly. No. Victims in both tragedies went to enjoy life, the pursuit of happiness.

Pastor Bobby Wright of The Back to the Bible Holiness Church (sorry, the name of this church makes me chuckle for several reasons—but, I digress) in Buford, Georgia posted a sign outside of his church, stating, “God created man and woman. Satan made gays & transgender.” First, this epitomizes postmodern cooning. Umm…I thought Scripture teaches that God created everyone and everything (Genesis Chapter 1; Colossians 1:16-20). The blind leading the blind. Smh. Although people have already spray-painted the sign, it wouldn’t surprise me to see folks burn down the sign and the church. I, of course, don’t support such criminal acts. We must, however, understand how mean-spirited expressions can incite undesirable responses.

Regardless of a person’s race, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation, Jesus has called us to love him or her: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). Do what pleases God: love people! Get your theology right; get your call right; get your witness right; get your message right. Love everyone. True love, God’s love, does no harm.

Again, don’t let your personal agendas cause you to be a useless witness for and follower of Christ. Love is what brings people to Jesus—not hate, condemnation, self-righteousness, shame, guilt, and sin-imputing: “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Let love and peace abound all over the world!

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Support Underserved Mothers: Give Hope and Empowerment

Mothers on the Margins: Empowering Hope Project

The Why You? Initiative, a charitable tax-exempt organization, is currently engaging in an effort to ameliorate the social, economic and professional outcomes of young girls and women who are mothers from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Our organization is committed to providing educational, economic, and professional development opportunities to these deserving individuals, including paid internships and mentoring. We are in Phase II of this endeavor, “Mothers on the Margins: Empowering Hope Project,” and to make this project materialize, we will need $1,350 by April 21, 2016. Can I count on you to be one of the 54 people who will donate $25 to meet this quickly approaching deadline? All donations are tax-deductible. Make your donations here: Mothers on the Margins: Empowering Hope Project.

To learn more about The Why You? Initiative, affectionately known as “[YU?],” visit here: Why You?. The organization was recently featured by a local news station: Why You? News.

Thank you,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

Co-Founder

The Why You? Initiative