What is discrimination?

Workplace discrimination is defined as when a person or a group of people is treated unfairly or unequally because of specific characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or national origin. 

Why is discrimination important?

Discrimination affects people’s well-being, their sense of agency and potentially even their career opportunities.


Repeated exposure to discrimination causes individuals to internalize the prejudice or stigma directed against them, eliciting feelings of shame, low self-esteem, fear and stress—all of which can lead to poor health.

When discrimination is left unchecked in the workplace, it results in lost productivity, poor performance, high turnover rates and even loss of an organization’s reputation, leading to recruitment difficulty and other high level issues.

Warning signs of discrimination

Recognizing discrimination in the workplace can be tricky. Discrimination can happen between coworkers, between employees and their employers or with job candidates.

  • Lack of diversity. A non-diverse team may indicate that employees who are in some way “different” don’t feel welcome or included and therefore don’t tend to stay on long.
  • Offensive comments or language. Even “just” lighthearted banter over coffee can reveal discrimination. If comments are being made between colleagues that would be considered inappropriate in front of an investor or new hire, it’s time to take a close look at the culture and communication norms.

Culture of fear and censorship. Do people who rock the boat or speak out tend to be shunned or even lose their jobs? Any kind of intimidation is a warning sign that diverse points of view are not welcome.

How nilo.health can help

nilo.health’s tools and programs combine scientific insights and hands-on exercises to teach psychologically safe team communication, mindfulness and a wide range of other skills vital to promoting workplace mental health as well as recognizing and combating toxic behaviors such as discrimination.


Digital webinars and roundtables on topical issues, supplemented by  one-on-one counseling sessions give employees further opportunities to examine workplace norms and their own experiences, attitudes and objectives in depth.

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