‘Time-Zone Prejudice’ Is the Newest Form of Workplace Discrimination

A recent exposé from Business Insider shows that the newest form of workplace discrimination is something called "time-zone prejudice."

Gartner reports that 45% of the United States workforce is currently remote at least part of the week, and this trend shows no signs of changing. Amid the pandemic, when companies began hiring global talent more frequently, larger firms were more capable of juggling different time zones, as they often had branches in various locations. Smaller organizations, however, haven't been able to adjust to time zone differences as easily.

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While remote workers are typically ensured they will work under one time zone when hired initially, says Laura Wheatman Hill of Business Insider, it becomes clear after the first few weeks of work that time-zone differences create an expectation that a worker is "on-call" all night and day.

Wheatman Hill interviewed several sources who wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs. Employees say they became afterthoughts if they weren't in the same time zone as the majority of the company, their work hours were not respected, and with European-based companies, their meetings were scheduled without a second thought about U.S. holidays.

U.S. employees were also meant to "pick up the slack for their European counterparts' more generous vacation, part-time schedule, and holidays schedules," one interviewee told Business Insider. They also feel they were passed on for promotions and could not get to know their coworkers because their calendars were already full when they logged on.

Another interviewee told Business Insider that she believes she was lied to in the hiring process. While it was initially stated that her hours would be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. her time, the expectation was always that she should adhere to her company's hours instead. Once, she tells Business Insider, she had to request a half-day of paid time off (PTO) just to sign off at 5 p.m. her time for an appointment.