Race Discrimination the Most Common Type Experienced by Black Workers in Massachusetts

| Jan 25, 2021 | Employment Law |

A national conversation on racism and injustice that received renewed attention last summer has permeated virtually all areas of American society, including Massachusetts workplaces. As employers consider their role in the conversation and the actions they should take, the Gallup Center on Black Voices finds that about one in four Black (24%) and Hispanic employees (24%) in the U.S. report having been discriminated against at work in the past year.

These findings, derived from a large-scale Gallup web survey conducted in Nov. 6 through Dec. 1, 2020, reveal that workplace discrimination reported by Black and Hispanic workers exceeds reports of such experiences among White employees (15%) by a substantial margin. More than 8,000 respondents were surveyed, including more than 3,500 White workers, more than 2,000 Black workers and more than 2,000 Hispanic workers.

Experiences of workplace discrimination are similar between Black men (27%) and Black women (23%), as well as between Black employees in households earning less than $90,000 annually (24%) and those in households earning $90,000 or more (25%).

Age, however, is a significant factor in Black employees’ experiences with workplace discrimination. Black workers younger than 40 (31%) are almost twice as likely as Black workers aged 40 and older (17%) to report having experienced discrimination at work in the past year. This conforms with the Center’s previous findings that young Black adults experience micro-aggressions at greater rates.

Young Hispanic employees (31%) are the only other racial or ethnic subgroup to report such a high level of discrimination at work. This figure is nearly twice as high as the rate among Hispanic employees aged 40 and older (17%).

Race-Based Discrimination the Most Common Type Experienced by Black Workers

In a follow-up question among those who perceived discrimination, 75% of Black workers indicated that the discrimination they experienced was based on their race or ethnicity — considerably higher than figures for Hispanic (61%) and White employees (42%).

The 75% figure among Black employees is constant across gender, age and income subgroups, with similar proportions of each saying the discrimination they experienced in the past 12 months was due to their race.

Bottom Line

Black Americans experience various mistreatments at much higher rates than other racial or ethnic groups do. And while racial discrimination in the workplace is illegal under federal law, about one in four Black employees report having been on the receiving end of discrimination at work in the past year alone.

Gallup has previously found that employee engagement “is linked to how an employee feels their employer would respond to discrimination concerns” and that engaged employees are much more confident that their employer would “do what is right” compared with those who are less engaged. Previous research from Gallup also finds that employees are less likely to feel discriminated against at work if they have great managers who build a culture of high engagement and respect.

Among young Black employees, who are early in their careers and looking to establish a professional footing, experiences of workplace discrimination are reported at an even higher rate. Early experiences in the workplace shape employees’ careers — and negative experiences can have an impact on their trajectories and future attitudes about work, as well as their opportunities to excel and feel accepted on a team.

Gallup has found that what everyone in the world wants is a good job — but that pursuit is made harder for Black Americans, of whom one in four say they experience discrimination on the job.

When you call us to discuss a potential discrimination claim, we listen with care and compassion. We also pledge to address your concerns honestly, presenting an accurate portrayal of what you can expect as you move forward. Attorney Lazar will offer guidance on how to handle your current job, as appropriate, and will explain the process of filing a claim. With our experience, we know that confronting the issue of discrimination is very difficult and extremely personal. That is why we take the time to help you weigh the benefits of filing your claim, including the compensation you could receive, whether your job could be restored, and other positive outcomes. You deserve to be well-informed before making a decision about how to proceed. We are here to help you and charge no attorneys’ fees unless you collect compensation.

Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to get the help you need.

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