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Are you guilty of these two subtle forms of workplace discrimination?

by , 31 March 2014
While there's a high level of awareness on discrimination based on race, sex, age and gender, there are other more subtle forms of discrimination that go on virtually unnoticed. If you don't take time to deal with these forms of discrimination, your company could suffer irreparable damage. Don't take that risk. Read on to discover two most subtle forms of discrimination and some smart ways to deal with them head on.

The two subtler forms of workplace discrimination exposed

#1: Weight discrimination

Weight Loss Resources reports that a Personnel Today survey in which more than 2,000 human resources (HR) professionals were interviewed, found that obese people are:

  • Discriminated against when applying for jobs,
  • Passed over for promotion and
  • Are more likely to be made redundant – all purely on the basis of their weight.
In the survey, a staggering 93% of HR professionals admitted they would choose a 'normal weight' applicant over an obese applicant with the same experience and qualifications.

Meanwhile, 'around a third of HR professionals believe obesity is a valid medical reason for not employing a person and 15% agree they would be less likely to promote an obese employee.

Weight Loss Resources adds that of even greater concern, is the fact that 10% thought they could dismiss an employee because of their size, something that's in clear contravention of employment law.

#2: Speech discrimination

According to List Verse.com, people who stutter or have a speech impediment have a difficulty in getting a job, but the bigger challenge is staying at that job.

The site says that while it's not that stutterers are deficient, they often face subtle discrimination best described as a 'glass ceiling'.

'Though some companies try to accommodate stutterers, many employers feel stuttering subordinates can't perform as well as others, and may not be suited to the demands of higher paying jobs. As a result, stutterers aren't often considered for promotion, as well-meaning managers try to 'protect' the employee from assumed failure.'

But is there a way to deal with subtler forms of workplace discrimination?

Yes there is. Here's how…

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Strategies to implement Employment Equity in your company.

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Here's how to deal with the subtler forms of workplace discrimination

Small Business Chron recommends you define the criteria for hiring, firing, raises, bonuses and other employee issues.

The site says the criteria should factor in only job-related issues, such as worker skills and performance.

This is important because 'having clear criteria makes it harder for subtle discrimination to exist because decision-makers must base their decisions on evidence rather than personal biases. Anyone who uses non-approved criteria to make a decision will have to justify their action, making it harder for discriminatory behaviour to go unnoticed.

It's also a good idea to ask your employees to report any form of discrimination directed at them.

Now that you know about two more subtle forms of workplace discrimination, take steps to deal with it.



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