New Study Examines Inequities in Likability, Favoritism, Micromanagement Toward Black People In The Workplace
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Have you ever felt like your manager just didn’t like you without real cause? You can’t put your finger on why, but something wasn’t quite right. 

According to a new study, you might be onto something. 

Coqual’s report Equity at Work: Managers, Colleagues and You found that 32% of Black and 26% of Latinx male professionals say their manager treats them differently based on how much they like them, compared to 13% of white professionals.  

Coqual held virtual focus groups with over 300 employees; and one-on-one interviews with more than 40 people this spring. They also conducted a national survey that garnered responses from 4,410 participants (2,113 men; 2,268 women; 25 who identify as transgender, nonbinary, or another identity; and four who did not identify their gender; 2,547 identify as White, 557 as Black, 566 as Hispanic, 574 as Asian, 127 as two or more races, and 39 as another race or ethnicity). They were asked about their treatment in the workplace, and certain behaviors they noticed from their managers as compared to other non-minority colleagues. 

The results were illuminating. 

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Per a news release, Coqual’s study finds nearly one in three Black professionals feel they’re treated unfairly because of their race, one in five women feel they’re treated unfairly based on gender, and more than one in six LGBTQ professionals feel they’re treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation. Looking at the intersection of race and sexual orientation, the study finds surprising data that Black LGBTQ professionals (51%) are nearly twice as likely as Black non-LGBTQ peers (26%) to describe their company’s culture as inclusive.

“Our Equity research supports the critical role that institutions play in embedding and reinforcing inclusive behaviors for everyone within the organization,” said Lanaya Irvin, Coqual chief executive officer in a news release. “We hope this data and accompanying recommendations for colleagues and managers help disrupt inequities and serve as a roadmap for companies to create actionable change.” 

It was also found that Black employees are more hyperaware of the negative stereotypes they face in the workplace, which heightens their fear of making mistakes while on the job. 29% of Black professionals worry about how their mistakes might reflect on others who look like them, compared to 13% of White professionals. 

Micromanagement is another challenge for Black professionals and Latinx men. Coqual finds that 32% of Black men, 28% of Black women and 26% of Latinx men, compared to 17% of White men report that their manager manages with excessive control or attention to details.

“Equity is created at the organizational and the individual level, so we researched both,” said Julia Taylor Kennedy, Coqual executive vice president. “Individuals have the power to shape each other’s daily experiences at work. We often leave a leader or a team, not a company, based on unfair treatment.”