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One-third of Native Americans face workplace discrimination

Indiana residents may be surprised to learn that more than one-third of Native Americans report that they have experienced race-based slurs, harassment, violence and discrimination in the workplace, according to a new survey. The survey was administered on behalf of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, National Public Radio and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The survey was intended to explore the personal discrimination experiences of certain groups, including Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, white Americans and LGBTQ adults. A sample of 3,453 people were contacted between January 26 and April 9, 2017, 342 of whom were Native American. When reporting personal experiences of discrimination, 35 percent of Native Americans said they had personally experienced slurs, and 39 percent said they had heard offensive or insensitive comments regarding their race or ethnicity. In terms of the workplace, 33 percent of Native Americans reported experiencing race-based discrimination when seeking a promotion or raise, and 31 percent said they had experienced discrimination when applying for jobs.

Native Americans living in areas with a majority population of Natives were more likely to report discrimination. For example, 54 percent of Native Americans living in majority Native areas said they had experienced race-based discrimination when applying for a job or seeking a promotion. Meanwhile, only 22 percent of Native Americans living in non-majority Native areas reported workplace discrimination.

Employees who experience workplace race discrimination may have grounds to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If the case is successful, the employee may be awarded a settlement for damages. Workers could contact an employment rights attorney to learn more about EEOC complaints and other legal options.

Source: Harvard, "Poll finds more than one-third of Native Americans report slurs, violence, harassment, and being discriminated against in the workplace," Nov. 14, 2017

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