Curran & Curran Law

A Boutique Employment Law Firm Representing San Diego

Stigma vs. stereotype causes of work discrimination

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2022 | Employment Law

Millions of qualified individuals have been denied the ability to work because of stigmas or stereotypes. Filing a case for workplace discrimination or harassment involves knowing the differences between certain attitudes, actions and behaviors. In many workplaces in California, negative attitudes are major causes of work discrimination.

Stigma vs. stereotype

Stigma is known as a quality of disfavor that is associated with a particular act, person or entity. A stereotype is an exaggerated quality that is associated with a particular person or group of people. Stigma is usually gained by a person’s behavior or circumstances. For example, the stigma of having HIV/AIDS is gained only after the person has been diagnosed. On the other hand, a stereotype is universally applied to a person or group regardless of each person’s actions or behaviors.

In the workplace, a stigma or stereotype can be used to halt an employee’s or job applicant’s progress. Structural stigma is a broader level of discrimination that involves decades-long institutional practices and policies that have affected thousands of employees over many years.

Legal matters

In general, an employee’s or coworker’s negative, preconceived attitude toward another worker leads to an act of work discrimination/harassment. While forming a legal case, the persecuted worker must understand the differences between a stigma and a stereotype. The legal definition has to be met exactly to prove that the specific incident occurred.

Workplace discrimination or harassment results from negative, preconceived ideas about a particular person or group of people. Stigma is a negative quality that is attached to a person with a certain lifestyle, characteristic or background. Stereotyping consists of negative ideas about people who share common traits. Discrimination cases are created after incidents occur that involve stigmas or stereotypes.