We Protect Workers

Have you experienced microaggressions?

There are major sources of discrimination and harassment, such as racism, sexism or ageism. Employees are sometimes treated unfairly by being denied promotions or being directly harassed on the job.

A microaggression is something small that supports one of these overarching systems. The issue itself may appear relatively minor from the outside, but it connects to these wider issues, and can still be a form of discrimination or harassment.

How could this happen?

For an example of how this could happen, consider an employee whose parents are immigrants. That employee has lived in the United States for their entire life. But they still have the physical characteristics of their parents, and so they often feel like they stand apart from their coworkers.

One day, one of these coworkers tells them that they’re so impressed with that employee’s command of the English language. Maybe they say something like “You speak English incredibly well!” or they mention that they’re surprised by the employee’s high level of education.

This microaggression may sound like a compliment, but it’s actually an insult that supports stereotypes about immigrants. The employee who is being harassed is a natural-born citizen, just like their coworkers. But they’re still being ostracized because of their national origin, their race, their appearance and their background.

Moving forward

Microaggressions can be a bit more complicated, especially if the other employee disagrees about what happened or what was intended. Employees who are facing this type of issue on the job need to know about their legal options. No one deserves to be discriminated against on the job, and no form of discrimination is too minor to consider.