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Why do people still discriminate at work?

Do you ever wonder why discrimination happens? You know what qualifies as discrimination: Treating someone unfairly based on something like their age, gender, race or the like. But why does it happen? It's illegal, and yet it persists.

There are a lot of potential reasons. Some of it may just be an embedded personal bias that people find hard to shake. When they have inaccurate fundamental beliefs about another group of people, even when they know that discriminating based on those beliefs is illegal, they do it anyway.

Company culture also plays a role in a lot of cases. Some companies give employees the idea that discrimination is all right or that they will look the other way. For instance, a company made up of nearly all white men may find it natural to discriminate against African American employees or female employees. They know it's wrong, but they're the heavy majority, and so they continue to do it.

Other potential reasons include:

  • Workers feel insecure and discriminate to make themselves feel better.
  • Workers have a superiority complex.
  • Workers are trying to impress supervisors who they think approve of the behavior.
  • Workers feel threatened by the other employees, who may be better at their jobs, and they use discrimination as a way to demonstrate their power over them.
  • Workers just do not like other employees -- may be based on personality clashes -- and they discriminate maliciously and intentionally.

No matter why it happens, discrimination is illegal and those who face it on a consistent basis need to know all of the legal options they have.

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