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Employers Should Be Aware of Less Obvious Forms of Discrimination


Employers throughout Maryland are likely aware they need to take steps to keep workplace free from discriminatory actions. Among other things, it is against the law to discriminate against workers based on religious beliefs, race and gender. To prevent this from occurring, workplaces need to train employees on the types of behavior that are acceptable. While workers may not engage in more obvious forms of discriminatory behavior, more subtle forms can be harmful as well.

These less overt forms of discrimination may take the form for implicit bias or microaggressions. Implicit bias occurs when someone unconsciously treats an individual who is another race, differently. Microaggressions are characterized as comments deemed tone-deaf regarding a person of another race’s ability to do something.

Employers should also be sensitive to actions that could be deemed discriminatory before someone is employed, in the hiring process. For example, care should be taken to not prematurely filter out resumes of workers with names that do not sound white. In addition, non-white applicants should not be given shorter interviews than white applicants. These things could happen as a result of an employer seeking the right “cultural fit.”

A business can take steps to prevent discriminatory behavior of this nature by making employees aware that these issues exist and that it is problematic. This may be accomplished by working with an employment lawyer to create workplace policies regarding these issues. In addition, should a discrimination claim be filed, they can help a business investigate the issue and work through the established process.