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Workplace Discrimination: A Guide to Recognition and Action

In today’s workplace, discrimination remains a pressing issue, often lurking in the shadows of corporate culture. It’s a challenge that undermines equality and respect and can significantly impact an employee’s well-being and career progression. 


This blog aims to shed light on workplace discrimination, how it can be addressed, and what constitutes direct discrimination. Understanding these aspects is the first step towards creating a safer, more inclusive work environment. Let’s explore these critical issues and how discrimination can be effectively managed in any professional setting.

Identifying Employment Discrimination

Workplace discrimination can be overt and subtle, making it crucial to recognise its various forms. Look out for these types of discrimination in the workplace:

Obvious Signs

  • Unequal Treatment: This is clear-cut. This kind of workplace discrimination happens when employees are treated differently due to their race, gender, age, or other personal attributes.
  • Harassment: Any unwelcome behaviour that creates a hostile work environment falls here. It includes jokes, comments, or actions based on individual characteristics.

Subtle Indicators

  • Opportunity Disparities: Watch for patterns of workplace discrimination where certain groups consistently miss out on promotions or key projects.
  • Pay Gaps: Unequal pay for the same role and experience level can be a red flag.
  • Isolation: Excluding certain employees from meetings or team activities is another subtle sign.

Cultural Nuances

  • Stereotyping: Making assumptions about abilities or roles based on someone’s background or identity is discriminatory.
  • Feedback Differences: If feedback style or frequency significantly varies based on personal characteristics, it might indicate bias.


Recognising these signs is the first step in addressing workplace discrimination. It’s essential to create an environment where such behaviours are not tolerated, and employees feel safe to report any incidents. Contact a workplace discrimination lawyer if you feel stifled in your office environment due to unfair practices.

Steps to Take if You Face Workplace Discrimination

If you face discrimination in the workplace, taking immediate and appropriate steps is crucial to address the issue effectively. Here are some key actions you can take:

Document the Incidents

Keep a detailed record of all actions, comments, or decisions indicative of workplace discrimination. Note dates, times, locations, and any witnesses. Include emails, texts, or other tangible evidence supporting your claim.

Review Company Policies

Familiarise yourself with your company’s anti-discrimination policies and procedures. Most organisations have guidelines on how to handle such situations, including specific channels for reporting incidents.

Report to HR or Management

Report the workplace discrimination to your human resources department or a trusted manager. It’s important to follow the official procedures outlined by your employer for reporting such issues.

Seek Support

Reach out to a trusted colleague, a union representative (if applicable), or a professional mentor for support and advice. They can provide guidance and may be able to offer insights based on their own experiences or knowledge.

Legal Consultation

Consider seeking advice from a legal professional, especially if the discrimination violates local job discrimination laws or if your company’s response is inadequate. A lawyer specialising in employment law can guide your rights and potential legal actions.

External Reporting

If the workplace discrimination issue is not resolved internally, or if you face retaliation for reporting, you might need to report the discrimination to an external body, such as a labour rights board or a government agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws.


Facing discrimination can be emotionally taxing. Prioritise your mental health and consider seeking support from a counsellor or therapist.


Remember, each situation is unique, and the best course of action depends on the specific circumstances of the workplace discrimination you’re facing. It’s essential to act in a way that protects your rights while also taking care of your well-being.

Building a Supportive Work Environment

For employers, building a supportive work environment is key to fostering a positive and inclusive company culture. Here are steps to achieve this:

Establish Clear Policies

Develop and implement clear anti-discrimination and harassment policies. Ensure these policies are well-communicated to all employees and that they understand the consequences of violating them.

Training and Education

Regularly conduct training sessions for employees and management on diversity, inclusion, and sensitivity. These sessions should increase awareness and understanding of different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.

Encourage Open Communication

Create an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns. Implement open-door policies and encourage managers to empathise with employees’ concerns.

Diverse Hiring Practices

Promote diversity in your workforce by employing people from various backgrounds. This enriches your company culture and brings in a range of perspectives and ideas.

Supportive Reporting Mechanisms

Establish a confidential and effective system for reporting workplace discrimination or harassment. Employees should feel safe and supported in reporting any incidents without fear of retaliation.

Act on Feedback

Regularly seek feedback from your employees on the work environment and culture. Be proactive in addressing any issues or concerns raised.

Lead by Example

Leadership should exemplify the values of respect, inclusivity, and fairness. The behaviour of the management sets the tone for the rest of the organisation.

Promote Work-Life Balance

Support your employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance. This can include flexible working hours, mental health days, and recognising the importance of personal time.

Recognition and Respect

Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions of all employees. Ensure that recognition and rewards are distributed fairly and equitably.


By taking these steps against workplace discrimination, employers can create a more supportive, respectful, and inclusive workplace. This not only benefits the employees but also contributes to the overall success and reputation of the company.

How Can 6 Pence Help

Are you looking for new jobs in Dubai, Oman, Iraq or Bahrain? Do you want to work with fair and top companies in the GCC that do not tolerate workplace discrimination? Then 6 Pence can help.


We are one of the leading staffing and recruitment agencies, working with some of the leading public and private sector companies in the GCC. To apply for jobs, visit our careers page and drop your CV. Follow us on social media to know about the latest job openings. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is discrimination in the workplace?

Discrimination in the workplace refers to unfair or unequal treatment of an employee or job applicant based on certain characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. This can manifest in various forms, including hiring decisions, salary differences, promotion opportunities, and general treatment at work.

How would you deal with discrimination in the workplace?

If you face discrimination in the workplace, it’s important to document the incidents and report them through the appropriate channels, such as your HR department. Familiarise yourself with your company’s anti-discrimination policies and follow the reporting procedures. If necessary, seek legal advice, especially if the issue is not resolved internally or if you face retaliation.

What is meant by direct discrimination?

Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic, like their race, gender, or age. Workplace discrimination examples include not hiring a qualified individual solely because of their ethnicity or gender discrimination in workplace. Direct discrimination is often intentional and overt, but it can also be a result of unconscious biases.


Also Read: The HR’s Guide To Developing Digital Recruiting Strategies


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