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3 forms of racial discrimination that may affect service workers

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2023 | Racial Discrimination

Service-based professions can be an excellent starting point for someone’s career, as workers can potentially benefit from a flexible schedule. Service careers can also be very lucrative for those with the determination to work hard and earn the best gratuities possible.

Those working in service professions deserve the same dignity and workplace rights as those in any other industry. Yet, those in the service industry necessarily encounter a lot of people, which puts them at elevated risk of harassment and discrimination due to the sheer number of individuals (each with their own conscious and unconscious biases) that they need to interact with.

Racial discrimination can absolutely affect the career trajectory and income of someone in a service profession. These are some of the ways that racism manifests in the service industry and can ultimately affect someone’s career.

Customer misconduct

The behavior of customers can have a major impact on a worker’s income and job satisfaction. In some cases, customers with a racial bias might make statements that make a service worker uncomfortable. Other times, they might stiff them and not leave an appropriate gratuity. The workers should be able to ask supervisors to help them when a customer engages in racial harassment or discrimination.

Unfair scheduling practices

Anyone who has worked for any length of time in a service-based profession compensated in part through gratuities knows that there are some days and times when tips are better than others. Restaurants often see a big surge in demand and overall tips during the Sunday morning rush, for example. Dinner service often results in better tips than lunches, and weekends tend to be busier at many restaurants than weekdays. Racial discrimination might be the underlying reason why certain workers always get bad, low-paying shifts while other workers consistently get the best shifts the business has to offer.

A hostile work environment

Sometimes, coworkers can make life miserable for someone who is not of the same race as the majority of the other employees at a business. A hostile work environment could develop because of inappropriate jokes. Other times, it may be social ostracization that makes one worker feel very uncomfortable on the job because of the attitudes of other employees.

Those experiencing racial discrimination in the workplace may find that their treatment on the job affects their mental health and how much they earn. Documenting and fighting back against workplace racial discrimination can help workers change the company policies that have led to their mistreatment and can potentially lead to compensation as well.