Are You A Victim of Economic Discrimination?
In recent years, our awareness about workplace discrimination has grown considerably. We are aware that our employers cannot and should not discriminate against us on the basis of our gender, our ethnic origin, our religion or our age, and we react accordingly.
However many of us are also victims of additional discrimination that is less widely reported, and which people don’t always understand or consider to be discrimination: economic discrimination remains rife in America.
Among racial and ethnic groups, African Americans have the highest poverty rate, with 27.4 percent of the population living in poverty, followed by Hispanics at 26.6 percent. An incredible 45.8 percent of young black children are currently living in poverty, meaning that it is likely you could fall victim to two different forms of discrimination simultaneously: race discrimination and economic discrimination.
However economic discrimination is just as likely to happen to white adults living in poverty and hoping to enter the workforce, with many people simply not aware that they are being discriminated against.
What is economic discrimination?
Economic discrimination is simply discrimination based on economic factors. Economic discrimination can take on many different forms and exist in many guises, including hiring discrimination (where a job candidate is discriminated against and not offered a role based on their economic status, or the perception of their economic status) and wage discrimination, where you are offered the financial compensation your employer feels you will accept, even if this figure is lower than that offered to other employees fulfilling the same role.
If you are living in poverty, struggling with debt and need to gain employment at any cost then you are more likely to fall victim to economic discrimination, in the form of wage discrimination, with unscrupulous employees taking advantage when you are at your most financially vulnerable. Women are more likely to suffer from this form of economic discrimination than any other social group.
If you’ve ever felt that you didn’t get a job because the interviewer judged your background, the neighborhood you live in or even the quality of your suit or shoes then it could well be that you have unwittingly been the victim of economic discrimination.
Economic and Race Discrimination
Economic discrimination is endemic in the history of black Americans, and the sad fact is that that discrimination is still prevalent today. Whilst attitudes towards race have changed dramatically in the past 40 years (with black sports stars revered all over the country, black actors taking leading roles and a black President sitting in the White House) there is still a lot of work to be done.
Nowhere is that truer than in the workplace. Whilst individual black Americans have achieved great success, racism is still a huge problem in the country, and the economic gap between white Americans and Americans of other ethnic origins remains in place.
This means that the likelihood of experiencing economic discrimination in America is still high, and that economic discrimination remains prevalent, particularly in low-paying roles and industries where it can be more easily disguised and where its victims are less likely to realize they are being discriminated against and speak up to incite change.
Economic Discrimination is Bad for Business
Discrimination is not only bad for those employees being discriminated against, it is also bad for business. Discrimination cases against businesses (both big and small) cost our economy millions of dollars every year, affecting the involved company’s financial bottom line, levels of staff morale and workplace productivity, and can even cost a company customers if their perception of that company is impacted negatively.
Most businesses do not want to face a discrimination court case, and may even change their policies when they realize that you are aware you are being discriminated against and are prepared to take action against that discrimination.
If you feel you have been discriminated against therefore, either economically or on any other grounds, it is important to be vocal about that discrimination in order to prevent it from continuing to happen to other people, as well as to safeguard your own financial future.