Siân Caulfield, CSP national officer, explains what you can do about this behaviour in the workplace and how the CSP can help
Microaggressions are subtle behaviours that affect members of marginalised groups. Over time they can cause serious physical and psychological harm and add up and create greater conflicts.
You might not be able to put your finger on what the exact issue is, which is why it could be a series of workplace microaggressions causing you harm.
Microaggressions can be classed as discrimination and are typically categorised into three main areas:
- behavioural – communicating a message with actions or symbols that display insensitivity to identity stereotypes such as ‘women shouldn’t be in leadership roles, they’re too emotional’
- environmental – lack of representation and diversity, including gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
- verbal – saying something that may not outright appear to be but is disrespectful or offensive to a person or marginalised group, for instance continuously pronouncing someone’s name incorrectly.
If you are experiencing workplace microaggressions it’s important to know that help is available. You are likely to be feeling vulnerable and need support – which is where CSP can help.
In 2022 every CSP steward across the UK is being trained on ‘Recognising discrimination in the workplace.’ Tutored by CSP staff this course takes an in-depth look into areas such as equality law across the UK, case studies relating to discrimination and crucially how to recognise microaggressions.
Your CSP steward should be your first point of contact when discussing workplace issues. They can offer guidance to help you to address microaggressions and put mechanisms in place to support you at work. Issues of discrimination don’t stand alone in each protected characteristic. CSP stewards are being trained to identify intersectional issues and to understand the impact a number of protected characteristics can have when discrimination is faced – in essence the discrimination can be compounded.
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