All of us have opinions about and associations with many different things. Some of these opinions may be consciously held, meaning that we are aware of how we feel about certain topics.

However, psychologists believe that we also have unconsciously held associations that are largely influenced by our environment and external influences. Our unconscious biases may be shaped by things such as our education, the media, and societal influences from our friends and family.

These unconscious associations are commonly known as implicit biases, and we all have them to some degree. While implicit biases can shape the way that people think, it does not mean that they should control the way that people act. We have only limited control over implicit biases, but we have much more control over our actions and determining right from wrong.

How does implicit bias affect discrimination?

When implicit biases are left unaddressed and unchallenged by the conscious mind, they can lead to conscious biases. This might mean that a manager or a worker acts in a discriminatory way toward another employee because of their religion, race, gender or nationality. Engaging in discrimination is never an acceptable way to behave, and should never be tolerated under any circumstances.

How can implicit bias training help to prevent discrimination?

Implicit biases are not a type of discrimination; we all experience biases. However, those who do not question their own unconscious beliefs are more likely to engage in unlawful discriminatory practices. This is why it is important that companies invest in training for all of their workers.

When does an inappropriate action count as discrimination?

If you have experienced any negative treatment that you believe was motivated by the fact that you are or have a certain gender, race, religion, nationality or disability, this is never acceptable. All workers in the United States should be treated equally regardless of these characteristics. If you are experiencing such treatment, you should begin by noting all incidents down, and making formal complaints internally.

If you want to take action as a result of experiencing discrimination in your workplace, it is important that you understand the different terminology and how it relates to the law in Missouri.