What do you know about microaggressions in the workplace?

As a member of a minority group, you may navigate stereotypes in the workplace. Do you know when office behaviors and comments could become problematic?

Baker College explains microaggressions and lists examples of them. Know when you could become a victim of discrimination in the workplace.

Defining microaggressions

Indistinct actions and words from coworkers may affect members of marginalized communities. Such microaggressions can create a hostile work environment. Microaggressions fall into three categories: verbal, behavioral and environmental. Verbal microaggressions may not appear hurtful, but they harm minorities. Behavioral microaggressions include inconsiderate symbols and behaviors that rely on identity stereotypes. Environmental microaggressions happen when work environments do not include diverse employees.

Examples of microaggressions

Because you could have difficulty identifying microaggressions, it makes sense to review examples of them. One example is a microinsult. These microaggressions represent comments that appear as compliments to a single member of a minority group but display insensitivity to the demographic group as a whole. For instance, a person could say a marginalized co-worker does not promote a negative stereotype of her or his demographic.

A microassault is an intentional criticism or discrimination that degrades minorities. Examples include making fun of a minority group’s style of dress or food and displaying offensive symbols.

Microinvalidations represent behaviors and comments that disregard an underprivileged group’s experiences. An example is “not seeing color.” This invalidates a minority’s identity as a member of a disadvantaged population.

You should not have to experience overt or covert discrimination or hostility in the workplace. Understanding microaggressions also helps you understand your employee rights.