Recently, a lot of people raised a negative outcry against Malcolm Gladwell when he said that remote work is “sitting at home in your pyjamas,” and it does not benefit society, companies, and the individuals involved.
His critics maintained that remote work and the freedom that comes with it, have greatly improved self-awareness, health, relationships, productivity, and income. Remote workers don’t have to work traditionally – commuting daily to their workplace or working a nine-to-five.
In the same way, a lot of people, especially people that are involved in childcare, have reported that remote work is more than they can handle.
Racial discrimination in the workplace
Several reports have shown that remote workers face racial discrimination in the workforce.
International, national and state laws, strictly prohibit workplace discrimination based on social origin, race, sex, religion, status, age, ethnic group and more.
Employers and employees have to follow the rules that guide against discrimination or be penalized according to the law if found guilty.
Some assume that WFH (work from home) increases employees’ unproductivity and disillusionment at work. Others believe that it improves diversity and creativity in their organization.
Christian Rohaut, the CEO and founder of Codi advised that remote work discrimination “is a policy choice” and “ultimately how organizational cultures adapt will determine how much of an issue remote work discrimination becomes.”
Ellen Poa, ex-Reddit CEO, carried out a survey in 2021 which revealed that remote work was causing more gender and racial discrimination in the workplace.
In 2015, Poa lost her case against her former employer, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, for gender bias, but it raised global awareness of gender diversity and inclusiveness in the tech industry. Since then, Poa has been an advocate for diversity in tech.
In respect to the survey, Poa suggests that “longer working hours, lack of witnesses in private conversations, and the blurring of work life and home life boundaries may be the reason for the increase in gender and racial discrimination,” in remote work.
How to Identify racial discrimination in the workplace
Many CEOs and employers who do not subscribe to remote work may overlook cases of racial discrimination against remote workers in their organizations, and even do nothing to prevent it. These are some of the ways to identify racial discrimination in the workplace.
Unqualified individuals are promoted
Employers may have hiring practices, tests, or workplace policies that don’t support the inclusiveness of certain races.
Racial discrimination against remote workers may go unnoticed during virtual meetings and video conferences. Except if the employer affirms it, it may be difficult to prove that a remote worker was overlooked for a promotion based on their race card.
Interviewers ask race-related questions
Remote workers may not get the job if an interviewer has race biases. The interviewer may send signals during the interview with the kind of questions that they ask. And it may not be permissible to ask about a prospective employee’s race in such a context.
Harassment and abuse
Some remote workers have been exposed to negative comments about their appearance, hairstyles, and home aesthetics that have little to do with their work performance and more to do with their race.
One-on-one calls make it hard to have witnesses when there’s verbal abuse, yelling, and disrespect of remote workers because of their race by employers and fellow employees.
Remote workers are valuable
The most important thing is that employers, managers, and employees, should create structures that protect remote workers against racial discrimination.
They should closely watch their mannerism and attitudes so as not to send negative signals to people of a different race.