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Discrimination in an Age of Diversity

22 Nov. 2016 Posted by aadams

Written by Amara Lang, FEI Work-Life Specialist

Millennials—those born roughly between 1980 and 2000—are the most ethnically diverse generation in the U.S. As of 2015, almost half of millennials reported that they belong to some minority or ethnic background. This diversity increases among those under age five who are expected to be the first generation of a “majority-minority.”

These changing demographics are a reflection of changing times—and a changing workforce: Millennials are also now the largest generation working in the American labor market, having surpassed Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) in 2015.

While it’s no longer acceptable (or ethical) to discriminate against those who are different, it can still happen. And while ethnicity and race are often at the forefront of our minds when discussing discrimination, it’s important to recognize that discrimination takes all kinds of forms. People may discriminate (and be discriminated against) based on sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, religion, geography, etc. The list is long and varied.

Discrimination is illegal, especially in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides information on the laws and protections covering individuals who may face discrimination, and many employers list themselves as “EEO” when searching for job applicants. As a more diverse workforce emerges—one with evolving notions of what diversity, inclusion and acceptance mean—employers must be prepared to address their needs and offer a welcoming work environment to remain competitive, resilient and productive.

Have you seen discrimination at work, or experienced discrimination yourself? Contact your employee assistance program (EAP) to talk to an account manager or counseling professional. FEI also offers a number of management trainings on topics such as managing multigenerational workforces, conflict in the workplace and disability awareness.

Don’t let discrimination rob your organization of top talent; provide the protections of equal opportunity and strengthen your workforce!

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