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Workplace Marginalization: What to Do When You’re Being Marginalized at Work

With the increasing rate of global migration and globalization, it has become important to learn more about some resulting issues, such as marginalization. In many societies, some persons or groups are denied the opportunity to be part of some institutions, to live in choice areas, or access some basic amenities that could make life easier for them. This denial can be due to different factors. The concept of this social exclusion is what is commonly referred to as marginalization.

Marginalized groups, most times, suffer exclusion from getting good health care, legal representation, education, and better economic prospects. These groups are not necessarily categorized based on any particular demographic but can occur due to factors like age, sexual identity, ethnicity, gender, disability status, and socioeconomic level. There are various types of marginalization, such as economic, political, and social marginalization. Economic marginalization refers to the gaps that occur in opportunities to get employment or create wealth. For instance, racial minorities are mostly systematically marginalized due to some ideology that a certain type of race is better suited for top management job roles and another for unskilled worker roles. In fact, marginalized workers who experience accidents at the workplace may not get as much settlement as they deserve. Luckily, there are legal teams, such as The Barnes Firm attorneys, that focus primarily on helping people obtain the maximum compensation for personal injury claims.

There is also political marginalization, where marginalized groups are denied their right to vote or engage with their political representatives. Without communication with their political representatives, their interests will not be politically protected or advanced. Things like access to healthcare, education, and clean water, which can easily be brought to the front burner by political representatives, are shelved, limiting their chances of succeeding in life. Another subtle but devastating type of marginalization is social marginalization. This type occurs when certain groups are not allowed to participate in general leisure activities such as clubs and organizational memberships.

This article focuses more on workplace marginalization, which is an offshoot of economic marginalization, and what to do when you find yourself on the wrong side of the divide.

On many occasions, marginalization determines the kind of treatment an employee receives in the workplace. For instance, some employees suffer discrimination due to their race, sexuality, religion, gender, or age. A stereotype that assumes that a particular gender lacks the capacity to occupy a specific office is something commonly observed in the workplace. Sometimes, workplaces may have most of their employees from specific races, creating an environment for marginalization against minority races. In such cases, marginalized employees may experience undue criticism, non-recognition of their contribution to project success, or even exemption from events and meetings. Governments, entrepreneurs, employers, and employees should make it a priority to discourage every form of marginalization at their workplaces. If you find yourself in situations where you are being marginalized, here are some things you can do to overcome the challenge.

1.   Try to Identify the Issue

The first step to solving an issue is acknowledging that the problem exists and trying to identify its root cause. Workplace marginalization is sometimes systematic and not easy to spot. If you are marginalized based on factors you do not have control over, such as gender, age, and race, ensure you are able to isolate the particular factor so you can take action. Also, being keen to note the subtle attitudes you received based on this factor will help if you are to take up the matter.

2.   Learn to Call Out the Oppressor

Call out the oppressor by openly requesting that they clarify statements made or actions taken that suggest indirect or unintentional marginalization. It is important to do it at the time it occurs and not later on. Taking this action will likely cause them to quickly refrain and avoid such statements in the future.

3.   Foster Self-Confidence

When it comes to the workplace, you can get a boost in your self-confidence through your supervisor or colleagues recognizing the excellence and relevance of your work. However, you do not have to wait for this. You can work on being the best at what you do, having mentors that have attained heights you desire to reach, and ensuring you always exceed your past achievements. This way, even if you are marginalized at your workplace, it will not affect your self-worth. Also, you will be able to address the issue without telling yourself that maybe you deserve the unfair treatment.

4.   Get Professional Help

Sometimes, even the HR department is unable to recognize that they have employees who are being marginalized. In such situations, you can reach out and join support groups where you can vent to help your mental health. You can also consult with a professional, whether a psychotherapist or counselor, who is trained to help victims of marginalization.

– by Hemant Kumar Gupta

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