Everyday discrimination is typically disguised as praise, compliments or caring. Professor and MPG lecturer Sara Louise Muhr calls it "well-intentioned everyday discrimination" and gives an example:
"A colleague can say to another colleague solely because of the person's skin colour: 'How well you speak Danish!'. It is meant as a compliment, but may not be perceived as such if the colleague was brought up in Denmark," says Sara Louise Muhr and continues with an example of well-intentioned sexism: "A boss says to a young, female employee: 'Take care of yourself and don't work too much. After all, we want to keep you when you have children.' But that boss knows nothing about whether the woman wants to have children, and the discrimination also occurs because such things are typically said to women and not to men."
Precisely because everyday discrimination can be embedded in the way we deal with each other, and because it can be well-intentioned, it can be difficult for both managers and employees to spot it and also fight it. At the same time, Sara Louise Muhr emphasises that the person who is affected will in no way have difficulty identifying the everyday discrimination.
According to professor Muhr, how you in your organisation can identify well-intentioned discrimination and deal with it, mainly comes down to 4 things:
• Ask the individual and don't expect anything based on stereotypes
• You should not generalise from one to many. Again, remember the individual.
• As a manager, be aware that everyday discrimination takes place both in the private life and in the workplace. As a manager, you cannot take responsibility for what happens in the private life, but you can take responsibility for understanding that situations from the private life also affect the individual at work. And that the one joke at the workplace may have been heard by the employee many times before in their private life.
• The inclusive tone starts with you and me, and as a leader you are especially important because others copy you.