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A look at types of discrimination in the workplace

There are a million and one ways that you can be discriminated against in the workplace, and I though that I would use this article to highlight some of them.

This is by no means a definitive list, so I would encourage you to add any further comments to the thread I have started on our discussion forum.

There are a lot of forms of discrimination that we are all aware of due to copious amounts of campaigning. Sexual discrimination and racial discrimination are the two main ones that I can think of.

Now I'm not saying that these have been totally eradicated, but at least the majority of people are aware of them and there is plenty of legislation out there to protect the "victims" (I hate that expression).

What I want to do here, is look at different forms of discrimination in the workplace and perhaps encourage a bit of discussion on the subject areas.

Experience Discrimination

It works both ways and goes hand in hand with ageism.

You don't have enough experience, so you have less chance for certain jobs. You have too much experience so have less chance for certain jobs.

You are too young for a position of authority or responsibility, or you are too old to be considered a "good long term investment".

Is there anyone out there that hasn't been in one of these situations? And of those people, how many could have easily done the job they were applying for (and been happy doing it)?

Come to think of it, how many times have you sat in a crap job, under a complete cretin of a superior (in job title only!), who's only virtue is that of being a few years older / younger than you? Or perhaps they have a bit more experience than you?

So what?

Experience and age don't mean anything - you can do the job and that is all that matters. It perhaps adds a bit of added value to certain job roles, but in this fast paced day and age it is not what you have done that is important - it's what you can do that is the main thing!

Just my thought on the matter and obviously this applies more to my own profession than it may to others.

Job Role Discrimination

This is a follow on from experience discrimination.

Each individual in an organisation has a role to perform and just because your role is deemed to be "less skilled" than others, doesn't take away the fact that it is as vital as any other in the organisation.

Where would the Marketing and IT departments be without Admin support? Up the proverbial creek, that's where! What would the Managing Director do without his appointments scheduled for him? Not a lot probably!

I spent a few years temping and regularly found that employers had little respect for temps - on one occasion I had a supervisor tell me that the permanent staff don't like temps - and to just deal with it. Now, whether or not it was true is irrelevant - the main thing is that it really doesn't instil confidence on your first day!

Temps can have their contracts terminated without notice, or additional pay. Few have holidays - there was a scam that recruitment agencies used but has now been rectified by European regulation - you used to have to work 13 weeks as a temp before you were entitled to holidays - needless to say I had a lot of 12 week contracts! Now agencies (at least the ones I was with) pay you an additional rate for holiday pay, on top of your hourly rate - so you still don't get any holidays!

My opinion - everyone in an organisation performs a function. From the Kitchen Assistant to the Managing Director. If an individual can't respect the job someone else is doing, then it's a subtle form of discrimination.

We are all the same - therefore we should treat each other in the same way. Isn't that the underlying message of the equal opportunities campaigns?

by Scott Boyd

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