At work, you have the right to perform your job without worrying about discrimination or harassment. The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on color, race, ethnic origin, sex, disabilities and age.
According to the APA, day-to-day discrimination and harassment can impact your life and work conditions.
How discrimination affects your health
Discrimination leads to serious health issues, most of which revolve around stress. When you experience constant stress, you can develop anxiety or depression. People who experience stress may also experience weight gain. Those who suffer from discrimination often have high rates of obesity and high blood pressure.
Even those who do not directly experience discrimination can feel the stress of being a part of a targeted group. If you anticipate discrimination, you are more likely to have chronic stress. When harassed, you may feel anger, embarrassment or sadness.
How to cope with discrimination
When faced with discrimination, put your health and wellness first. Try not to internalize the beliefs that others may have towards you. Look to family and friends for support. Your support network can comfort and support you while reminding you that the experiences are real. Learn to slow your breathing and relax your body’s response.
Friends and family can also report situations of discrimination. Be careful not to ruminate on the harassment. If you let yourself focus on it, you may think about what happened until those negative thoughts build up as more anxiety. Instead, speak out and file a complaint.
Discrimination can cause serious health effects, but if you know how to seek support, you can overcome the harassment.