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Racial discrimination at work: dealing with it as an NRI
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Are you an NRI working abroad? Are you happy with your lifestyle? Do you think you are accepted well by the people around you? Are you dealing with racial discrimination at work?
 
People of different cultures and religious beliefs are brought together at work places. Many are not aware of the cultural values of fellow employees and this makes them apprehensive and insecure. Notorious incidents like the attack on the twin towers in New York (the 9/11 disaster) have raised fear and increased racial discrimination. It has also enhanced the need for organizations to find ways to deal with racial discrimination at work. For example, because of the 9/11 incident, people wearing a turban, even Sikhs, have had to face distrust and violence from fellow Americans. Is this justified?
 
Dealing with racial discrimination at work – the reality
 
Organizations want to establish a neutral environment at their work places to curb discrimination. Employees are discouraged from displaying their religious or cultural symbols at the work place. Idols and pictures of deities are prohibited. Religious attire like turbans or burkhas are discouraged. The office environment is forcing NRIs to live against their religious desires. Is this an ideal way of dealing with racial discrimination at work?
 
Dealing with racial discrimination at work – the right way!
 
Organizations should encourage people to respect the religious belief of fellow employees. Also, providing equal opportunities of employment, training or promotions to people of all races and culture is an important part of dealing with racial discrimination at work. Another solution is to enforce stringent punishment for employees who bully or discriminate on the basis of race or culture.
 
Strictly prohibiting racial remarks or jokes is necessary. A strong judiciary system in place will also curb discrimination. For example, in Seattle, Arco was guilty of racially discriminating against three Punjabi NRIs and was asked to pay a high amount of compensation. In another case, Bally Total Fitness was ordered to pay $24,000 to NRI Sukdev ‘Devin’ Singh Dhaliwal, a Sikh man on the charges of racial discrimination. The organization asked questions like where he was born, where his parents were born, what religion he subscribed to and whether he was a Muslim.
 
As the boundaries between nations diminish further, dealing with racial discrimination at work is imperative. Can you tell us ways in which companies can control racial discrimination within their premises? Have you faced discrimination?
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