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Study: Employment Discrimination Correlated With Hypertension

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Recent research highlights the impact of discrimination on employees.

It's well-known that discrimination can have serious effects on victims, but new research has highlighted just how profoundly it can affect physical health.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), looked at the connection between workplace discrimination and hypertension (high blood pressure). Researchers collected baseline data and then followed up with the study participants eight years later, grouping them into "low," "intermediate," and "high" levels of discrimination. The results were stark: the higher the level of discrimination, the higher the rate of hypertension.

These results highlight the critical importance of preventing, reporting, and responding to unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination doesn't just affect the workplace; it ripples across victims' entire lives, affecting their quality of life and even their life expectancy. That's why we work so hard to hold employers that discriminate accountable.

Breaking down the study results

The research analysis looked at a sample of nearly 1,000 workers, most of them middle-aged. Participants were asked questions about various forms of discrimination in the workplace, including unfair assignment of job responsibilities, coworkers' use of slurs or discriminatory jokes, being watched more closely than other workers, being ignored by one's boss or supervisor, and being passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified candidates. The study also controlled for other hypertension risk factors, including age, sex, smoking, alcohol use, exercise, and work intensity.

Even taking those other factors into account, the study found a significant connection between discrimination and hypertension. Workers who were victims of high levels of discrimination were 54% more likely to develop high blood pressure. The study authors speculated that this may be a factor in the increase in deaths among working-age Americans since 2010.

It's important to note that this survey only asked about discrimination generally and did not differentiate between sex, race, religion, disability, and other forms of unlawful discrimination in the workplace. More research is needed to get the full picture of the connection between discrimination and high blood pressure. Still, this study shows that discrimination is a serious matter, not just because of its effects on the workplace but also because of its physical health implications.

Employers need to shut down discrimination in the workplace

While the source of unlawful discrimination in the workplace can be a supervisor, colleague, or even customer or vendor, employers are ultimately responsible for maintaining a working environment free from discrimination. Some of the steps employers need to take include:

  • Examining policies, pay scales, promotion practices, and so on for disparate impact on discriminatory lines
  • Monitoring the work environment for slurs, racially or sexually charged jokes, and other forms of unlawful harassment
  • Investing in anti-discrimination training
  • Creating and enforcing robust anti-discrimination policies
  • Providing mechanisms for workers to report and follow up on alleged discrimination

A workplace discrimination lawyer can help you demand accountability

Unfortunately, too many employers in Ohio and across the nation don't take discrimination seriously, and the consequences for employees can be severe. That's where we come in. Our experienced employment discrimination attorneys conduct thorough investigations to determine what happened and guide victims through the legal process as we seek accountability and justice. If you believe you have been discriminated against at work, give us a call or contact us online for a free, confidential case evaluation.

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