What is discrimination?

The literal meaning of discrimination is 'making a distinction'. Discrimination is the unequal treatment and disadvantaging of people based on characteristics that are not relevant in a given situation. Such distinctions are often made on the basis of race, gender, orientation, age, nationality or religion. Discrimination also occurs in the workplace, in many different forms. For example, when colleagues in the same job receive different salaries. Or when colleagues make offensive jokes based on previously mentioned characteristics. Discrimination in the workplace can be a conscious, considered choice by the person discriminating, but it can also be an unconscious action when the person discriminating does not realise that his/her behaviour is based on prejudice. The consequences of discrimination at work can have major repercussions. Among other things, it can lead to loneliness, stress and reduced self-esteem. Research by the National Vacancy Bank from 2022 shows that almost one in six Dutch people face discrimination at work.