How Do You Know If You Are Discriminated Against at Work?

Discrimination can be difficult to prove. Learn what to look for to see if you are facing discrimination at work.

Employment discrimination is more prominent than many people believe. It may no longer occur as blatant, in-your-face, actions of discrimination (although that still occurs). However, most times, it is a subtle act that often gets excused as just part of the workplace culture.

Discrimination should never be part of the workplace culture. Everyone has the right to the same opportunities and safety. Your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or other protected characteristics should not affect your ability to receive opportunities or work in a peaceful and fair environment.

Read on to learn more about some of the more subtle actions relating to employment discrimination in the workplace. Then learn more about what you can do to stand up against such actions.

1. Is Your Pay Rate Lower than Your Male Coworkers?

One of the most common forms of employment discrimination is unequal pay. For years, women have been fighting against the gender wage gap. The gender wage gap is a systemic issue in which women make less money than their male counterparts.

The wage gap is not based on qualifications, experience, or years with the company. Instead, it is solely based on gender. Unequal pay for women with the same education, experience, and qualifications as their male counterparts is a form of gender discrimination that occurs regularly in the workplace. More importantly, discrimination laws protect employees from gender discrimination and unequal pay.

2. Do You Deal with Jokes in the Workplace about Your Age?

Age jokes are often the most common jokes in public and the workplace. The truth is that everyone laughs at these jokes. They make entire party experiences about being over the hill once you reach any age over 40.

Yet, age is a protected class in the workplace. While it may be acceptable to joke about age with your friends and families, it is not acceptable with your coworkers. Leaving a cane near an older coworker’s desk can be offensive. Purposely screaming when speaking to an older coworker because you are joking about their ability to hear is inappropriate.

If you experience jokes about your age, even after you ask coworkers to stop, you may be experiencing age discrimination at work.

3. Are You Constantly Passed Over for a Promotion?

You may be an exemplary employee. You may receive praise and positive reviews every six months. However, you are Muslim, Jewish, African American, Asian American, a member of the LGBTQ community, over 40, or fit into any other protected class category. As a result, when you apply for a promotion, you never get it. Instead, a less qualified Caucasian Christian male gets the promotion.

If you notice this phenomenon every time you, or any other minority in the workplace, apply for a promotion, you may be noticing a form of employment discrimination. Using any protected class status to make any employment decisions is discrimination, whether it is race discrimination, age discrimination, gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, or religious discrimination.

4. Does Your Employer Refuse to Address You by the Proper Pronoun?

Pronouns are extremely important for someone’s gender identity. A person may with sot be addressed as they/them, he/him, or she/her. When your employer or others in the workplace refuse to acknowledge your proper pronoun, they are creating a hostile work environment. They are ignoring your gender identity. As a result, they are participating in gender identity discrimination.

Such discrimination goes further than the proper pronoun. In some cases, employers will make an issue out of assigned gender and bathroom usage. They may insist that all people born male at birth must keep their hair short and body makeup-free. They may insist all employees born female wear makeup and keep their nails painted in specific colors. Any gender-based rules for grooming and attire may be grounds for gender identity discrimination.

5. Are You Denied Shifts or Clients Due to Your Disability, Race, or Religion?

Honestly, your employer may deny you the right to work with certain clients or take certain shifts at work because of their preconceived notions of people with disabilities. They may also make these decisions based on their preconceived ideas of people of your race, religion, age, gender, or sexual orientation.

Making assumptions about an employee based on these characteristics can prevent you from making the money you deserve or obtaining the career satisfaction you deserve. As a result, you are facing acts of employment discrimination. Your employer may tell you they don’t think you are qualified enough for those shifts or client concerns. However, if they only make such statements to people who look like you or have similar protected characteristics as you, they are discriminating against employees.

6. Did Your Manager Decrease Your Workload Because You Are Pregnant?

Federal and state laws prohibit any form of pregnancy discrimination. An employer may believe they are trying to help you by decreasing your workload. Yet, if you did not ask for this accommodation and made it clear you actually want to work as you always worked until you say otherwise, your employer should not decrease your workload. Doing so would be an act of pregnancy discrimination.

What Can You Do If You Experience Acts of Employment Discrimination?

If you believe you are facing discrimination at work, you have the right to fight back. You can ask your employer to stop their actions. However, if they continue these actions, you have a right to consult an employment discrimination lawyer and seek compensation.

If you are looking for an employment discrimination lawyer in New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, or New Jersey, the employment discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Call us today at 800.807.2209 for a free consultation to learn about your rights.

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