Why Workplace Microaggressions are a Big Deal

Microaggressions are the everyday, subtle comments or actions that communicate negative, derogatory, offensive or insulting attitudes toward socially or culturally marginalized groups, including people of color, LGBTQIA+, and those who are disabled. While microaggressions can be deliberate, most of the time they are unintentional, say three material handling industry pros who have experienced such incidents both personally and professionally. The trio, each of whom works for an MHI member company, shared their experiences and offered suggestions for reducing the occurrence of microaggressions in the workplace.

Mercedes Barragan, diversity, equity and inclusion manager at MHI member Dematic, recalled experiencing a microaggression incident early in her career. Just before presenting to a large executive leadership meeting, a human resources director mocked the pronunciation of Barragan’s Mexican surname by raising her fists in the air and shaking them. That prompted…

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