Indiana employees who feel that they cannot bring concerns about workplace discrimination to their employers are not alone. Though many companies are giving lip service to the “me too” movement, most employees who were surveyed during the week of June 2020 feel that their employers get defensive when presented with concerns of discrimination.
According to a survey of 5,778 employees and leaders, even employees who are in executive roles largely feel that management does not always listen to concerns of discrimination: only 38% of executives said that management always listens to such concerns. The responses to the survey questions varied significantly between men and women, with men being more likely to say that management will listen to complaints, but only 42% of men said they feel that management always listens to workplace discrimination concerns without defensiveness.
Not surprisingly, the percentage of frontline employees who feel that management regularly listens to complaints of discrimination is lower than it is for executives: only 20% of administrative and support staff feel that management always listens. The response to this survey question also varied significantly among different races, with only 11% of black employees and 10% of black women giving the same response.
Sadly, the majority of employees surveyed did not feel like they could report concerns about workplace discrimination to their employers “without causing problems” for themselves – i.e., without facing some sort of retaliation. Employees at the smallest companies were most likely to feel like they could complain about discrimination without facing retaliation.
Discrimination can happen at any workplace, but many employers will not know how to respond if a report is made to management. Sometimes, it can be someone in management who is discriminating against an employee, which can make it feel impossible to complain. Individuals who feel that they are being discriminated against at work based on a protected characteristic may want to consult with an employment law attorney.