As an Asian employee, you’ve never had to deal with much trouble from your workplace in terms of discrimination. You were always treated fairly by the people around you, and you didn’t notice anything unusual about their behaviors toward you.

That changed recently. With the Coronavirus scare, all of the discriminatory things people have been saying have really taken you by surprise. You’re not Chinese, but because of how you look, you’ve been lumped in with other Asians. You hear coworkers talking about how dirty they are. You see customers look at you oddly if you cough or sneeze. It’s a nightmare trying to work through it.

Fear is a core cause of racism

Racism against anyone is against the law in the workplace. Being discriminatory is unfair and unacceptable. It doesn’t matter if it’s your boss, a coworker or a client; their actions matter and affect you. You shouldn’t have to put up with maltreatment due to how you look or because of your perceived national origin.

It’s true that the Coronavirus has made people fearful, but that fear shouldn’t spread to all Asian people or all people who appear to be Asian. It’s unfair, and it is a type of xenophobia that cannot be allowed in your workplace. Your employer or human resources department should step in to stop any racist or xenophobic comments or actions, even if they were not intentional. Though there are people who are sick in various communities, it’s not fair to think that everyone is a carrier or that their race has anything to do with the illness itself.

If you’re dealing with racism and xenophobia right now, you should speak up. It’s unfair to be treated this way, and you deserve better in your workplace.