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I work as a freelancer at a company in India where I was once an employee and have noticed the owner is (like many Indians), the kind of person who feels the need to distinguish between people based on their social status.

Many employees have quit this company in the past, not just because of the low pay and long working hours, but mainly because of being treated like people of low status, and I myself had not liked this discrimination based on status when I worked here long back.

How do I approach the company owners about this? I'm pretty sure they already know this problem and are doing it on purpose, but is there a way to help them change this perception of treating people? This isn't something new in India. I believe it's a residue of the caste system and untouchability. Still, how can I bring this to the attention of the owners and ask that they take better care of their employees? They are already quite depressed to see employees leave, and I assume their latest strategy is to work with the assumption that people are going to leave within 1.5 to 2 years anyway.

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    You're essentially asking us how you can persuade a group of people who embrace and embody the caste system to change. When it comes to this kind of deep-seated discrimination people simply do not change so I doubt there's a real answer for that. Perhaps you could get them to make some practical changes but even that is doubtful and being a freelancer your probably just don't have the political capital required to effect a change of that magnitude. – Lilienthal Aug 30 '17 at 7:55
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    It is commendable that you feel so strongly about it. Have you tried telling your parents to stop treating labourers in this manner? What was their response? – Masked Man Aug 30 '17 at 14:01
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This sort of entrenched social behavior is likely to be extremely difficult to tackle - especially since (from what you say) it's not exactly uncommon and if I read you correctly you would be approaching them as a subordinate.

I'm not in any way condoning or supporting this sort of behavior but realistically I think bringing this up yourself is likely to result in them either going on the defensive or just not getting "it". Your best chance (and I think it's relatively slim to be honest) is to raise it in response to them if they bring up the question of why people leave. Otherwise I'd steer well clear.

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