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Work culture, discrimination and fitting in

Work culture is not always something that is formally created. Parts of it may be -- putting up a dress code, for instance -- but other parts are not. The things workers talk about and the way they interact may be drastically different from one business to another, based on the culture.Some experts do warn that this can cause discrimination. As much as employers are looking for new employees who are qualified, they also want to hire people who fit in. They want workers who already adhere to the culture or who look likely to pick it up quickly. This is thought to create a more cohesive workforce, in many ways.This can be a problem, though, when it leads to discrimination. Employers may not even realize that they are doing it. They may just think that the people they are interviewing won't be a good fit, without realizing that they're stereotyping one type of worker.

For instance, maybe the workplace is made up of two dozen people between the ages of 22 and 30. It's a young workforce and that defines the culture and workplace environment. When a 55-year-old worker interviews for a job, the interviewer may think that the person doesn't fit the culture. This could be seen as age discrimination because the lack of fit may be traced back to the age difference and that person's inherent inability to fit the mold.

If you are discriminated against at work or while attempting to get a job, you need to know your legal rights. Remember that discrimination is illegal, even if employers call it something else or attempt to disguise it.

Source: Berkeley, "Work Culture and Discrimination," Tristin K. Green, accessed April 12, 2017

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