Kathryn Dill, Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2019
American workers under the age of 35 are more likely to see and experience discrimination at the office, according to a new poll, indicating how different generations can view the same behavior.
Three out of every five workers have either witnessed or been a target of some form of discrimination at work, based on their age, race, sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a survey from Glassdoor and the Harris Poll of 1,100 U.S. employees across age groups. But people between the ages of 18 and 34 were far more likely than other age cohorts to report having witnessed or being subject to each type of discrimination.
The current wave of young workers has come of age during a time of increased awareness about harassment and diversity issues, said Carina Cortez, Glassdoor’s chief people officer. As a result, they may be more likely than their older cohorts to spot and call out harassment and workplace discrimination when it occurs, she said.
Half of younger workers surveyed reported witnessing or experiencing racism, compared with 33% of workers over the age of 55, according to the report.
More than half—52%—of younger employees said they have seen or been subject to gender discrimination, compared with 30% of workers over 55.
People in their 20s and early 30s reported more ageism, which can have a different meaning to different people, Ms. Cortez said. The survey showed 52% of younger workers have experienced or witnessed age-related discrimination, compared with 39% of workers over 55. The perception could stem from people under 35 getting lumped together in office conversations and stereotyped as “those millennials,” Ms. Cortez said.
In a recent survey of more than 1,000 human-resource managers conducted by the organization, 37% said they had seen an increase in sexual-harassment and discrimination complaints over the past two years compared with the prior two-year period.
In the rush to add employee training on discrimination and harassment, companies may have failed to fully educate their workers on what type of behavior meets the formal criteria for a harassment complaint, Mr. Taylor cautioned.