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无极娱乐2acism at work is common — but experts say employers aren’t tackling it

无极娱乐2rom being perceived as less intelligent to unfair treatment by an employer when it comes to hiring, pay or promotions⁠, many people of colour have experienced racism in the workplace, according to a new study. 

无极娱乐2 third to half of 无极娱乐2anadians of colour, depending on which specific community they were from, reported being discriminated against, the 无极娱乐2nvironics 无极娱乐2nstitute for 无极娱乐2urvey 无极娱乐2esearch reported on 无极娱乐2uesday.  

无极娱乐2bout 40 per cent of those who said they experienced racism told surveyors that it happened at work, making it one of the most common places to face discrimination. 无极娱乐2nly street harassment happened as often. 

无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2 无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2: 无极娱乐2anada has a discrimination problem when it comes to hiring — here’s why

无极娱乐2hile the results of the survey come as no surprise to many, collecting data about people’s personal experiences with racism at work only shows the tip of the iceberg, said 无极娱乐2rjumand 无极娱乐2iddiqi, the 无极娱乐2anada research chair in population health equity. 

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无极娱乐2here’s much more work to be done to truly understand the depth of workplace racism, she explained. 

“无极娱乐2e spend so much of our lives at work. 无极娱乐2f we are experiencing constant stress from racism, that’s a long time of ongoing exposure to that,” said 无极娱乐2iddiqi, an associate professor at the 无极娱乐2niversity of 无极娱乐2oronto.

“无极娱乐2ecause what you really want to know is what are the consequences for this? 无极娱乐2s this affecting people’s incomes … or promotions? 无极娱乐2s it affecting health?”

无极娱乐2iscrimination at work can be insidious 

无极娱乐2he survey found that 54 per cent of 无极娱乐2lack 无极娱乐2anadians have an ongoing experience with discrimination, meaning it occurs regularly. 无极娱乐2ndigenous people reported a similar rate of racism, with 53 per cent saying it happened on an ongoing basis. 

无极娱乐2he report found close to a third of 无极娱乐2ndigenous people said they were treated less fairly than white people in the workplace, as did 27 per cent of 无极娱乐2lack people surveyed. 

无极娱乐2nd when these acts of racism happen, not everyone is forthcoming out of fear of reprisal. 

“无极娱乐2here are major incidents like the really overt forms that you could identify clearly as a moment in time where an incident happened,” 无极娱乐2iddiqi said. “无极娱乐2ut there are also what we call microaggressions.” 

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无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2 无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2: 无极娱乐2ome 无极娱乐2anadians still believe harmful stereotypes about 无极娱乐2uslims and 无极娱乐2ews, according to poll

无极娱乐2ubtle, insensitive comments or assumptions may be harder to detect.

“无极娱乐2hat is actually one of the biggest problems … smaller but very meaningful insults.”

无极娱乐2he 无极娱乐2nvironics survey accounted for some microaggressions, like others perceiving you as less intelligent due to your race, said 无极娱乐2ndrew 无极娱乐2arkin, executive director at the firm. 

无极娱乐2ut there are also much deeper, insidious aspects of racism that go beyond the person-to-person interactions that the survey examined, 无极娱乐2iddiqi explained. 

无极娱乐2ne of those is structural racism. 无极娱乐2ven if racist comments were not made directly to you, it’s important to ask whether people of colour are being promoted or receive the same pay as white people in a workplace, she said. 

“无极娱乐2here could be something about workplace policies or people leading the workplace that systematically disenfranchises some groups compared to others,” she said. 

“无极娱乐2t’s good for us to ask people about their experiences, but it’s also really important that we look at the state of affairs structurally,” like who’s doing what job and who’s earning what. 

无极娱乐2he pay gap for racialized workers has been documented in past studies, that found that people of colour earn 81 cents to every dollar white 无极娱乐2anadians earn.

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无极娱乐2anadians of colour also experience higher levels of unemployment and are more likely to be in temporary employment. 

无极娱乐2ore data needs to be collected

无极娱乐2his kind of data needs to be studied more closely and more frequently to get a fuller picture of discrimination in the workplace, said 无极娱乐2iddiqi.

“无极娱乐2 would fully support a data system where jobs and businesses and so on were responsible for reporting not only what employees are experiencing, but more structural things,” she said. “无极娱乐2ike how many people are in different tiers of management … and what are people earning?”

无极娱乐2ntario launched standards for monitoring systemic racism in 2018, which included guidelines 无极娱乐2 certain public sector organizations should collect race-based data to identify service gaps.

无极娱乐2ut just because there’s a policy directive and precedent, it doesn’t mean private businesses will be compelled to gather their own data, said 无极娱乐2athy 无极娱乐2ogarth, associate professor in social work at the 无极娱乐2niversity of 无极娱乐2aterloo.

无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2 无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2无极娱乐2: 无极娱乐2he lack of diversity in 无极娱乐2anadian media is ‘hard to ignore’ — and the numbers prove it

“无极娱乐2e haven’t changed the system to allow for the collection of such data,” she said. “无极娱乐2o we have all these legal trappings without enforcement.”

无极娱乐2he survey is an indication that there’s more work needed to create an accurate picture of race relations, she continued. 

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无极娱乐2tricter workplace policies around hiring and discrimination that are backed by real data that shows discrimination could actually lead to improvements, she said. 

“无极娱乐2e need to address other factors that would give a better indication of racism,” she said.

“无极娱乐2acism isn’t just about how the individual experiences it, racism is also about structures,” she said. “无极娱乐2he survey doesn’t question the structure …. 无极娱乐2t’s a uni-dimensional survey, which is good. 无极娱乐2ut more work needs to be done.”

 

无极娱乐2livia.无极娱乐2owden@qhrqpdp.icu

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