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Understanding what discrimination looks like

A study released on March 21 found that New York residents and others may be subjected to many different kinds of discrimination. For instance, a gay worker may understand that he or she needs to avoid mentioning a spouse or dress in a way that better conforms to gender stereotypes. Employees may also be deemed less credible than others because of their age, gender or race. In some cases, religious beliefs may play a role in determining credibility at work.

There may be times when managers or colleagues make rude or insensitive comments or jokes about customers or others who don't work for the company. Those comments may then be brushed aside as harmless because they aren't about an employee. If a comment is made about an employee, a manager may claim that the comment was just a joke or otherwise not to be taken seriously.

For some, discrimination means not being invited to social outings or meetings with other workers. Discrimination may also take the form of an unconscious bias in which a minority or older worker is told that he or she doesn't fit in or have the look of a leader. However, those same traits might be seen as positive or worthy of promotion in a male, white or younger employee.

Those who feel like they are victims of discrimination in the workplace may wish to consult with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to review a claim to determine if it has merit. If there is sufficient evidence to pursue it, the matter may be resolved either through informal negotiations or a formal trial. Discrimination victims may be entitled to compensation or reinstatement if they were terminated illegally.

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