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Native American workers share experiences of discrimination

Employees in California and throughout the country generally have a right to a workplace that is free from harassment. Yet roughly one-third of Native Americans say that they have been subject to harassment while on the job. The harassment comes in many forms, such as hearing slurs or other offensive comments or being threatened with violence. The survey was conducted for National Public Radio as well as other parties such as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In addition to personally being harassed at work, 23 percent of respondents said that they or a family member was sexually harassed. Another 38 percent said that they or a family member had a violent encounter because of their Native American heritage. Real or perceived discrimination may play a role when it comes to applying for jobs or being promoted by an employer. Of those who responded to the survey, 54 percent of those living in areas where Native Americans are a minority reported discrimination when applying for jobs.

The same percentage said that they experienced discrimination when being promoted in communities where Native Americans were a minority. This compares to 22 percent of respondents who reported discrimination when living in areas where Native Americans were the majority. Among all Natives, 75 percent believe that discrimination exists; although, they are divided as to what the main cause is.

Workers who face employment discrimination may be entitled to compensation or reinstatement. Reinstatement may occur if a worker was terminated as the result of filing a harassment complaint. An attorney might be use evidence such as the timing of a demotion or termination to show that discrimination or other violations of employment law took place.

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