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Americans are experiencing workplace discrimination at overwhelming rates, data implies

A new report by Glassdoor, a job recruiting site where employers can rate their employers, indicates that huge numbers of people continue to face discrimination at work; to be exact, 61% percent of employees said that they had experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination of some type. The report is based on data collected by Glassdoor via a survey that asked participants to rate their employer’s commitment to diversity and to indicate whether they had seen or experienced discrimination combined with text data analysis of job postings on the site.

“These findings are troubling and disappointing to see,” Carina Cortez, Glassdoor’s chief people officer, told Yahoo Finance. “Our data shows that workplace discrimination, whether based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, or identity, to name a few, persists.” She also noted that this research is particularly disheartening in what should be an optimistic time for American workers, as the US has the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.

The data collected by Glassdoor also shows that there is a 30% increase in the number of diversity-centric jobs in America since last year, and 77% of people polled said that they work in a diverse environment. These numbers indicate that — while many employers are showing an increased commitment to creating diverse workplace environments — companies don’t seem to know how to handle the nuances of making those environments hospitable.

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It could be possible that more employers are looking for professionals who can help them create more inclusive environments because they want to fight against the discrimination that minorities face. But there’s no way to draw a valid correlation between these numbers and the intentions of employers because surveys can yield data that’s a bit vague; they’re statistics, which are easy to misinterpret, and it’s also limited by the specificity of the questions asked.

Basically, we can’t know the motivations of employers based on this research. The study makes it seem like they're more dedicated to diversity than ever, but the employees surveyed did not seem to reaping the benefits of their employer’s efforts — 32% of American employees said they felt pessimistic about diversity in their workplace.

That minorities struggle in the workplace unfortunately isn’t breaking news. We've got several recent examples that have garnered some media attention. Earlier this year, women at big four law firm, Ernst & Young publicly denounced a company training that suggested that they “act like men.” On another point on the problems-with-workplace-inclusiveness spectrum, a brewery in Michigan is getting some heat for a racial discrimination lawsuit. The owner of the brewery that is being sued for discrimination maintains that he didn't know his former employee is Black.

But, this study does give us some deeper information about who is more likely to face discrimination. While the gender pay gap is narrowing, 45% of people had seen or experienced based on age and 33% had witnessed or felt discrimination based on sexual orientation, with race and gender falling in between those.