Allies of protected groups can help prevent discrimination

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California has some of the toughest regulations preventing discrimination in the workplace. However, violations still happen and it takes all of us to prevent them.

A police officer in the Bay Area is alleging blatant racism in his on-the-job harassment by colleagues. The Muslim immigrant apparently suffered threats and accusations of terrorism, and later suffered retaliation when he reported racist and homophobic behavior by his fellow officers.

“Due to the nonstop harassment, I made the formal complaint. As a result they’re now investigating me,” the officer said in a statement. His report includes threatening graffiti on his locker and references to a “Muslim ban” that would keep him out of the country.

Discrimination often follows patterns, and it can be contagious in the workplace. Members of majorities in offices and worksites can help fight discrimination by being aware of its dynamics and how it can affect minority workers.

Single reports of discrimination may be easily overlooked, but documented patterns of multiple instances reported by different people cannot be ignored by administrators and human resources officers. Report any possible harassing behavior, even if it does not affect you directly.

Members of majorities may also take care to observe their own behaviors to see if they are unwittingly contributing to a hostile work environment. Awareness of possible offensive behavior can counter the “cascade effect” of growing intolerance in a small workplace.

Victims of workplace discrimination always have the right to sue for compensation for poor treatment and prevent it in the future. An attorney can help victims and their allies gather evidence of harassment and related offenses.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “San Francisco officer alleges ‘blatant racism’ in Police Department,” Alene Tchekmedyian, accessed June 07, 2018