Microaggressions have been a hot topic term when it comes to DEI work and the workplace. First coined by Harvard professor Chester M. Pierce, the term microaggression described the insults and slights he had witnessed against black folks. In 2007 the word was revived to be used more broadly to describe insults and slights against people from all marginalized identities.
In the workplace, many folks with marginalized identities experience microaggressions daily, some subtle, some not. As many workers return to the office, the discussion around microaggressions has heightened. As many organizations talk about their DEI efforts, there has been a call to address microaggressions in the workplace.
There are three forms of microaggressions: microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations. All of these can take place in the workplace, whether in the recruitment, interview, onboarding, or performance review processes.
Over time, the compounding damage of microaggressions causes health issues for workers. When microaggressions occur, they can leave the recipient questioning their own identities and whether or not they belong in a space. If a person continually causes harm to others, it's essential to build a culture around addressing microaggressions and ending them.