Emotional Tax—A Challenge Companies Can’t Afford to Ignore
This report examines the Emotional Tax levied on Asian, Black, Latinx, and multiracial professionals in the United States as they aspire to advance and contribute to their organizations. In particular, we focus on an important aspect of Emotional Tax: the state of being on guard—consciously preparing to deal with potential bias or discrimination. Our findings show that:
- Asian, Black, Latinx, and multiracial professionals pay an Emotional Tax at work when they feel they must be on guard to protect against racial and gender bias.
- This experience was shared by nearly 60% of the women and men of color we surveyed.
- Employees who feel on guard are most likely to want to leave their employers and face challenges to their well-being.
- A majority of those who are on guard have a strong drive to contribute and succeed—suggesting that the loss of their talent would be detrimental to the organization.
- To retain these valuable employees and address potential reasons for being on guard, leaders must cultivate inclusive workplaces.
We show that it’s not only employees of color, but the organizations they work for that pay the Emotional Tax in the form of lost talent and potential loss of revenue. Throughout this report, we present actions that you can take today to address and reduce the consequences of Emotional Tax and ensure that the people of color working at your company can thrive, contributing their best talents.
Research Partners: Bank of America, Bloomberg, BMO Financial Group, The Boston Consulting Group, Cargill, Chevron Corporation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Dell Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, EY, IBM Corporation, KeyBank, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation, Merck & Co., Inc, PAREXEL, Sodexo, UPS, Verizon
How to cite this product: Dnika J. Travis and Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon, Day-to-Day Experiences of Emotional Tax Among Women and Men of Color in the Workplace (Catalyst, 2018).