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New Study Quantifies Offensive Incidents Directed Asian-American Individuals

New Study Quantifies Offensive Incidents Directed Asian-American Individuals

  • There were more than 6,600 incidents of hate and discrimination directed at Asian-American individuals and individuals of Pacific Islander descent in the last year.
  • The rise in incidents is attributable to false blame for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Employers would be wise to re-examine their policies to ensure there is zero-tolerance for hateful behavior directed at employees of any background.


A recent survey by the focus group “Stop AAPI Hate” revealed a surge in hate incidents and discrimination directed at the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. According to data gathered in the “Stop AAPI Hate National Report,” there were 6,603 reported incidents between March 2020 and March 2021, which was up significantly from the 3,795 reported the previous year. The number of complaints is particularly disturbing for employers, who are still fighting increased scrutiny over sexual harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement and other civil rights-focused campaigns.


Types of Incidents


Of the 6,603 complaints, verbal harassment accounted for 65%, while civil rights violations (such as workplace discrimination, refusal of service, or refusal of transportation) accounted for 10.3%. The rest of the complaints were made up of physical assaults (12.6%), and online harassment (7.3%). Particularly revealing and concerning was the fact that women reported being more than twice as likely to be victims of hate incidents as men. Lastly, the largest age demographic to report an incident was 26-35 year olds, which could be partially attributable to the fact the survey was conducted online, but is concerning nevertheless.


Cause of Increased Hate


Stop AAPI Hate claims that increased attention on the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities in the wake of COVID-19 is the largest contributing factor to the increase in incidents. This is unsurprising after a year of lockdowns and constant misinformation from all ends of the political spectrum. In times of chaos there is often a scapegoat, and unfortunately in this case, members of the Asian-Americand and Pacific Islander communities wrongly bear responsibility for a pandemic that has gripped the globe for over a year.


What can Employers do to Prevent Incidents
While the Stop AAPI Hate survey was not isolated to incidents occurring at work, it is more important than ever for employers to examine their culture to ensure the risk of hate incidents is minimized (if not eliminated). Employers would be wise to examine their policies and training procedures, and to include information from the Stop AAPI Hate survey in their corporate education programs. Syntrio’s website (www.syntrio.com) remains a valuable resource for information about anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, diversity, equity and inclusion, and workplace respect and civility programs. By implementing the methods Syntrio has developed, there is an increased likelihood that your organization can prevent an incident, as well as improve your culture to make employees of all backgrounds feel comfortable and included at work.  We invite you to contact a member of our staff today to learn more about how Syntrio’s products can improve your workplace culture.


Since 2007, Jonathan has practiced labor and employment law on behalf of management. Jonathan focuses his practice on advising employers on the prevention of harassment and discrimination issues, with an emphasis on providing in-person harassment training programs to companies of all sizes. Jonathan is licensed in California, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and maintains a national advice practice.

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