Experiencing workplace prejudice can be confusing, scary and hurtful. It’s a situation no one deserves to be in, however, it’s, unfortunately, a reality. If you’ve experienced workplace prejudice, here are some pointers on what you can do.
Stand up for yourself
We always aim to be professional in the workplace, and although that’s really admirable, it doesn’t mean that you have to put up with blatant abuse. Brushing things off and moving on is only okay if it’s a once-off incident, and even then, it all depends on the magnitude of what was said or done. It’s best to nip things in the bud and speak up when you feel offended to avoid being repeatedly insulted and offended.
Have a strategy
It’s a normal human reaction to act based on what’s happening in the moment, usually without thinking things through. But that can be dangerous, especially at work. So rather have a strategy, and even if you may not use it in that moment, you can save it for next time you’re insulted or invalidated. Your strategy should be one that considers the implications of your actions and helps you come up with a better way to communicate your dissatisfaction.
Get a second opinion
Sometimes we’re prone to overreacting and there’s nothing wrong with that, it happens to the best of us. So perhaps you want to ask someone you trust what they think by throwing them a scenario based off of what happened to you, and hearing what they have to say. This doesn’t have to be a fellow co-worker- it can be family or even a friend. But preferably someone who’s far removed to avoid biasses.
Know your rights
Although prejudice can often be difficult to prove, there’s a chance that your workplace rules specifically identify and aim to combat it. If you’ve tried resolving the matter yourself and the prejudice has persisted, consider speaking to someone in your company’s Human Resources (HR) department. A Human Resources officer should start an investigation based on timelines and any evidence you’ve provided. If you feel that the prejudice has actually crossed over into harassment, here’s some further information and advice.
Take care of yourself
Prejudice isn’t something you ever deserve to experience, and if you have, your feelings are 100% valid. Accepting that you’ve been affected by what’s happened is a key step in your healing process. While other people’s actions may be outside of your control, there are ways that you can take care of your mental health such as mindfulness exercises, self-care and therapy. You can also read our article on how to heal from trauma here.
Society often downplays prejudice, brushing it off as something casual, or even a “joke”. But if you’ve experienced it, you know how real its effects can be. No one deserves to be treated differently based on being “different”. If you’ve experienced prejudice and you’d like to talk about it, we’re always here to listen. Send us a DM on our social pages Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or chat to us on Ask CellCgirl.