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Phoenix Arizona Discrimination Law Blog

Identifying casual racism in the workplace

If you've never heard the term "casual racism," you're not alone. Most people are only on the lookout for more overt forms of racism, such as using particular words or phrases or creating policies that very conspicuously privilege one person or population over another.

But so-called "casual" racism is much more nuanced, and it can be difficult to see if you are not accustomed to experiencing it yourself. Below, we outline several situations and scenarios that, taken together, make up some ways that people experience subtle and often socially acceptable ways of marginalizing and discriminating against people outside of their own race or color.

When can a well-intended policy turn out to be illegal?

Sexism in the workplace isn't always as obvious as we think. Sometimes a discriminatory practice can present itself as the result of a well-intended policy or mandate by your employer. Take this recent Colorado case as an example.

In 2009, former Colorado Springs, Colorado police Chief Richard Myers ordered all officers to undergo fitness tests, which included sit-ups, push-ups and running. In the years that followed, women overwhelmingly failed the test more often than men, yet all officers were required to pass it annually. Those who didn't were first relegated to desk duty and then fired within 6 months if they still couldn't pass.

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