What if the perpetrator of my misery at work is a person of color?
Updated: Nov 28, 2022
Unfortunately, there are many instances in the workplace when the person behaving in a discriminatory manner towards you is another person of color. Is this still discrimination? What should you do when this occurs? What do you do when the perpetrator of a discriminatory hostile work environment is a person of color or even the same race/ethnicity and/or gender as you are?
This blog post and this video on YouTube will address what you should do when and if this happens to you at work.
There are two things to remember when it comes to discrimination by a person who is the same sex/gender, race/ethnicity as you.
1. Discrimination is illegal regardless of who perpetrates it.
Though it may be harder to establish and prove, if a person engages in discriminatory behavior towards you, it is illegal and should be documented and reported by you to management and Human Resources.
· Your manager shows preferences for employees who are members of the majority race (i.e., white staff) over you and other people of color (POC) on staff. This may be evidenced by key assignments and projects consistently being given to non-POC staff; a manager constantly being critical to POC staff and when they talk about them but not doing so with their non-POC staff; promotions and recognition are heaped upon non-POC staff while consistently staff of color are passed over.
White supremacy and systemic racism/bias are very dynamic things and black people and other communities of color are not immune to engaging in colorism and racism against their own communities in order to enhance their positions with the white majority. Many Black people allow themselves to be used as tools and weapons of White Supremacy and perpetuate bias and racism against other POC. But be clear - if and when they do it, it IS Discrimination.
2. If the person is in a position of management, they are an agent of your organization and the organization is accountable for their actions.
This is an important point to know and understand because often in these types of situations, management and HR will try to dismiss it and not give it the attention that they would if race/ethnicity is different or gender is different. In these cases, effective documentation, which I teach in my webinar series, AND timely reporting are critical.
Document and Report
I cannot stress how important effective documentation and timely reporting are to this situation in particular.
As I shared in this blog post, the time to report any act or action at work that you deem discriminatory is as close as possible to when it occurs.
Retaliation. If your manager retaliates against you in any way, document and report those actions to HR as well. Retaliation could be in the form of demotion, taking key projects away from you, making problematic comments to you or about you in meetings with others, or behind your back. Dealing with retaliation at work can be very stressful but, in many ways, it can be a gift, as it often violates your companies’ written policies, it can support a future claim of discrimination and/or a request for separation with severance. Don’t let retaliatory actions scare you into silence, just document and report each occurrence.
Do this for EVERY incident you experience. If matters are resolved appropriately that is a good outcome and your employer is doing the right thing. If they are not, that is where I come in.
If you cannot get your employer to appropriately resolve acts of discrimination in your workplace, enroll in my 4-part Hostile Work Environment Escape Strategy Webinar Series. It will walk you through each step needed to identify, document, report, request and negotiate a separation from an employer with severance based on discriminatory actions. If you’d rather work with me 1:1 you can book a Hostile Work Environment Escape Strategy Discovery Call with me HERE. Participants in the webinar series receive a 10% discount on 1:1 consultation packages.
If you need advice to resolve other HR issues or concerns you may have, book an HR consultation discovery call with me HERE.
If you need help navigating a discriminatory hostile work environment, or you want to get out of one, perhaps with some severance pay, Book a HWEES Discovery Call.
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I am the AntiHR, HRLady and I’m here to help.