Workplace Discrimination is a topic discussed by many, and it is often connected to other inequality and concerns we observe in our society. Although differ in intensity and events, work place discrimination happens in many countries across culture. The examples of work place discrimination may vary in situation, intensity and the cause, yet they will all cause undesirable consequences if unaddressed.

Definition of Workplace Discrimination

Work Place Discrimination occurs when an employee or job applicant perceive they are being treated unfairly and negatively by others irrelevant to job performances (Dhanani, 2018[1]). Often time, the unfair treatement is associated with social identities defined by factors such as gender, race, etc. Examples of work place discrimination can range of severe work place bullying to subtle exclusion of certain member in the work place. The incidents of work pace discrimination is more frequent than many would expect, and it occurs in all countries including Canada.

Types of Workplace Discrimination

Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination is one of the major type of discrimination we observe in work place. The gender discrimination often times involve differences in terms of wage disparities, occupational sex segregation, as well as command of authority (BOBBITT-ZEHER, 2011[2]). Gender discrimination stems from the percieved difference in both gender's and their capability in difference areas. Overall, studies have find the negative impact of gender discrimination is stronger in countries with more gender-egalitarian national cultural practices (Triana, Jayasinghe, Pieper, Delgado, Li, 2019[3]). However, this does not mean that gender discrimination is exinct in countries such as Canada. Accoding to a study on gender discrimination in Canada, gender inequality still exist and varies across difference cities in the nation (McInturff, 2014[4]). The studies considers the wage gap, work place treatment, as well as incidents of sexual assault. Accoridng to this study, the best place for women to be in Canada, while the worst is Edmonton.

Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination refers to the unfair treatment a person receives that is less favourable than another person in a similar situation, the basis of racial discrimination include race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status ( Australian Human Rights Commission[5]). Racial discrimination happens more frequently in countries with higher number of immigrants suich as Canada and the US. study has show The type of unfair treatment in racial discrimination is similar to that of gender discrimination, yet there are more subtle every day treatment that affect a racial minority in workplace. For example, a study has find evidence that Blacks are experiencing everyday discrimination in the form of "minor, pervasive mistreatment and unfairness on the job", and these insignificant everyday issue build up to have lasting effect on the group (Deitch, Barsky, Butz, Chan, Brief & Bradley, 2003[6]).

Other Types of Discrimination in Workplace

Disability discrimination refers to unfair treatment in employement and workplace based on a person's disability. Currently, there are legislations in place to prevent such unfair treatment (Vellani, Taylor & Francis, 2016[7]).

Religious Discrimination refers to differnet treatment based on religious belief. A survey has find 20% of the workers they interviewed reported experienced religious prejudice while at work or knew of a coworker who had been subjected to some form of discriminatory conduct (Gregory, 2011[8]).

Pregnancy Discrimination is still a persisting issue in workplace as many women lost their jobs or find their advanced impacted by pregnancy (Karsten, 2016[9]). Although legislations has classified pregnancy as a protected class, it is still impacting women in workplace.

Consequence of Workplace Discrimination

With any type of woorplace discrimination, there are consequences to both the employees and the company.

Personal Consequence of Workplace Discrimination

As the recipoent of the unfair treatment, the mistreated person's consequence ranges from negative emotions to severe stress, these are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as eating disorder, high blood pressure, and insomnia (BUTTIGIEG, BRYANT, HANLEY & LIU, 2011[10]) . if the situation of discrimination becomes more serious, the employees may quit the workforce all together, and may be unable to return to work even in future.

Company/Employer's Consequence of Workplace Discrimination

From organizational point of view, having workplace discriminattion will increase rate of employee turn over, harm company culture and reputation, and in worst case scenario, the company may face legal consequences (Karsten, 2016[9]). In order to achieve long term sustainable development, it is essential for busiensses to practice ethical behaviour in workplace and prevent any type of discrimination.

  1. Dhanani, L. Y. (06/2018). Workplace discrimination: A meta-analytic extension, critique, and future research agenda Blackwell Publishing. doi:10.1111/peps.12254
  2. BOBBITT-ZEHER, D. (2011). GENDER DISCRIMINATION AT WORK: Connecting gender stereotypes, institutional policies, and gender composition of workplace. Gender and Society, 25(6), 764-786. doi:10.1177/0891243211424741
  3. Triana, M. d. C., Jayasinghe, M., Pieper, J. R., Delgado, D. M., & Li, M. (2019). Perceived workplace gender discrimination and employee consequences: A meta-analysis and complementary studies considering country context. Journal of Management, 45(6), 2419-2447. doi:10.1177/0149206318776772
  4. McInturff. (2014). Best and worst place to be a woman in canada: An index of gender equality in canada's twenty largest metropolitan areas Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
  5. Know your rights: Racial discrimination and vilification: Australian Human Rights Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  6. Deitch, E. A., Barsky, A., Butz, R. M., Chan, S., Brief, A. P., & Bradley, J. C. (2003). Subtle yet significant: The existence and impact of everyday racial discrimination in the workplace. Human Relations, 56(11), 1299-1324. doi:10.1177/00187267035611002
  7. Vellani, F., & Taylor & Francis eBooks A-Z. (2013;2016;). Understanding disability discrimination law through geography. Farnham, Surrey, England;Burlington, VT;: Ashgate. doi:10.4324/9781315549224
  8. Gregory, R. F. (2011). Encountering religion in the workplace : The legal rights and responsibilities of workers and employers ILR Press.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Karsten, M. F., & ebrary, I. (2016). Gender, race, and ethnicity in the workplace: Emerging issues and enduring challenges. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, An imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC
  10. BUTTIGIEG, D. M., BRYANT, M., HANLEY, G., & LIU, J. (2011). the causes and consequences of workplace bullying and discrimination: Results from an exploratory study. Labour & Industry: A Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work, 22(1-2), 117-141. doi:10.1080/10301763.2011.10669432