Can remote workers still face discrimination?

Thanks to advances in technology, more employees than ever are completing their workday from a remote location. This has many benefits, such as avoiding a costly and stressful commute. However, some things, such as interpersonal conflicts with coworkers, still occur even when working from home.

Can remote workers in California face discrimination, even though they rarely or never see their coworkers in person?

What is workplace discrimination?

Workplace discrimination refers to the less favorable treatment sometimes given to employees due to factors such as their race, sex, disability status, or age. Discrimination may come in the form of micro-aggressions, such as telling a person of color that they “speak good English” even though they are a native English speaker. Discrimination also occurs when a supervisor denies someone a promotion because they are pregnant. These are just a couple of examples of the many varieties of discrimination that take place in workplaces across California each day.

Yes, remote workers can experience discrimination

Remote workers can experience the same forms of discrimination as employees in the office. For example, a Zoom video call can display a person’s gender expression, which could open them up to micro-aggressive comments from other employees. When someone works remotely, they still need to let their supervisor know if they plan to take time off for childbirth, to which a supervisor could wrongly retaliate. If remote employees believe they are experiencing discrimination, they should save any relevant emails or chat logs as evidence.

Being aware that remote workers can still experience discrimination allows them to be advocates for themselves in the workplace.