There have been a lot of people, many who have spent their education or lives studying the issue, who have opined on the origin of discrimination. As a result, there are a lot of opinions. At a foundational level, discrimination comes from judging or attributing a characteristic to an entire class of people instead of viewing a person individually. But that is more of a definition of discrimination, not an origin. Some say that discrimination comes from hatred of anything different from those who discriminate – an effort to raise themselves up by pushing others down. Others point to engrained and historical societal viewpoints. Many point to how history is talk in school. Political leaders have stoked fears and bias for political gain. The entertainment industry has been heavily criticized for how it has historically painted or excluded various minority groups. And around the world, some religious leaders have inculcated various values that support discrimination –the Middle East conflict and LGBTQ+ rights as an example.
The truth is that there really is not a single origin of discrimination. Discrimination comes from many different tainted wells. This is what makes it so difficult to stop discrimination. It is like fighting a 1,000-front war.
Why am I raising the origin of discrimination today? Why now? As you may know, I discussed the incident last week where a Lake Catholic High School lacrosse player displayed a swastika on his leg against Orange High School, which has a good-sized Jewish population. (Best Law Read: Discrimination Should Not Be Tolerated Just Because It’s Against The Jews). A follow-up news story reported that an adult spectator, likely a parent, was also yelling antisemitic slurs onto the field from the stands. Where does discrimination come from? It is a learned behavior. Babies don’t hate other babies because they are Jewish, Black, or Asian. Discrimination and hatred are a modeled behavior that is learned by what people see and hear around them – especially in their formative years.
This Lake Catholic High School lacrosse player did not wake up one morning hating Jews and decide it would be cool to paint a swastika on his leg. This was a learned and reinforced behavior. I would love to know if the parents punished this teenager (because there has still been no indication that the School did); or did the parents say that they were proud of the kid for standing up against the Jews and use some discriminatory trope to justify the backlash like it’s only happening because the Jews control the media.
Let me bring this back to the employment setting – this being an employment law blog after all. Employees are like kids in that they will model the behavior that a boss, manager, supervisor, or the owner of the company displays as being acceptable. Boss rants against the Jews; a manager racially discriminates by assigning all Black workers the heavy labor jobs; the owner talks about how nice an ass Jenny in accounting has; and guess what happens next. When discrimination based on race/color, religion, gender/sex (including pregnancy and LGBTQ+ status), national origin, age, and disability are modeled as acceptable conduction by the leadership, the rank and crew follow suit. Either they feel free to unleash their inner existing discriminatory beliefs or they want to demonstrate to the boss or manager similar ideologies in order to get into good graces. Leadership’s discriminatory statements and comments become the first domino to fall in creating a hostile work environment. (Best Law Read: What Qualifies A Hostile Work Environment Under Title VII?; What Is A Hostile Work Environment?; What Is A Sexually Hostile Work Environment?).
Critically, the opposite is true as well. When upper management and HR demonstrate that no discrimination and harassment of any kind will be tolerated; when the boss shows that every employee regardless of race, religion, gender, national original, age and disability, will be treated equally and with respect – employees will model that behavior as well.
How do I sue my employer for discrimination in the workplace?
Best Employment Lawyer Answer: Because there is no way to effectively fight all discrimination at one time, Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm has gathered a team of experienced lawyers that fight the 1,000-front war on discrimination one case at a time. If you have been wrongfully fired or terminated or are in a hostile work environment based on your race, national origin, gender, age, religion or disability; or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. (Read: What is the Spitz No Fee Guarantee?) Call our lawyers in Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Toledo, Cincinnati and Raleigh to get help now. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and its experienced attorneys are dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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