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Do bosses listen when you report workplace discrimination?

A new survey found that many U.S. workers said their bosses did not listen when they reported workplace discrimination.

You can perhaps forgive someone for not listening occasionally; maybe their mind was busy. However, the survey showed just 29% of employees felt their bosses always listened, with another 19% saying they usually did. That leaves another 52% of workers who felt their bosses probably wouldn’t listen. These are some more key findings from the survey:

Position matters: The higher up the ladder you are, the more likely your bosses will listen to you. Administrative and support staff felt their bosses always listened to them 21% of the time, executives 38% of the time when reporting discrimination.

  • Gender and race matter: 38% of men replied they were always listened to, but only 21% of women could say the same. Whites said they were always heard 28% of the time, Blacks only 11%. Being a black woman reduces your chance of being listened to even more. Only 10% of those surveyed said they were always heard, compared to 42% of white men.
  • People fear retaliation: 63% of people did not feel they could always report discrimination without suffering vengeance. Again the higher up the company you are, the freer you felt from retaliation. 59% of top executives felt safe to report things always, compared to 23% of administrative or support staff.

Despite these statistics, the law is clear: Everyone has the right to a workplace free of discrimination and free of retaliation for reporting it. If your company has trouble understanding this, you have legal recourses available to deal with workplace discrimination.