What Are the First Signs of Discrimination in the Workplace?

What Are the First Signs of Discrimination in the Workplace?

Most people go to work because they want to make a positive impact in an area they care about — doctors and nurses wanting to make people feel better, teachers to educate the next generation, and more. Unfortunately though, sometimes the workplace is clouded by discrimination making it an uncomfortable place for employees. That’s why it’s essential for anyone suspecting discrimination happening at work to begin taking action right away.

Where Are Discrimination Laws Applied?

Discrimination laws from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission layout rules companies must follow when it comes to not only practices with current employees but future ones as well. Key areas employers are not allowed to discriminate against including a person’s:

  • Age;
  • Race;
  • Sex;
  • Religious affiliation; and,
  • Disability.

Recognizing the Signs of Discrimination

Based upon the identities listed above, there are ways future employees or current employees can see that discrimination is happening in the workplace:

  • Hiring Practices: This is when a company advertises for a job that shows a preference for or against someone because of the above-listed identities; recruits someone specifically for a position based upon the above-listed identities; or denies someone a job solely because of the above-listed identities.
  • Lack of diversity: Potential employees should look at the company’s upper-level management — is there diversity amongst the individuals at the top of the company? A company should always hire whoever is the most qualified for the position, but at the same time, it’s also crucial to have people of different backgrounds as part of the decision-making team. If you are an employee and notice that your company isn’t diverse when it comes to upper-level management, make a point to ask around and see why that might be the case.
  • Off-Topic Interview Questions: This is if someone is interviewing for a company and questions unrelated to the job come up. Questions employers are not allowed to ask include, “Are you married?”, “Who watches your children while you are at work?” and “Are you pregnant or plan to become pregnant?” While it’s common to talk about your home life when meeting people and it’s OK for you as the potential employee to bring these topics up, the potential employer is not allowed to use any of the information you provide as the specific reason why you were not hired for the position.
  • Fixed Roles: This is when only certain people are promoted while others who apply for promotions are consistently denied. Especially if you are a hardworking individual who was the most qualified person for a position, it is important to get answers to why you were not given the job. All employers should be able to provide an answer to this question, and if they do not have a response for you then you could investigate it further for potential discrimination practices.

What to Do if You See Discrimination in the Workplace

If you are employed at a company and see discrimination taking place, the first option you can take is speaking to a supervisor. If it’s your immediate supervisor who is committing the discrimination, then it’s best to speak to their supervisor. This can be intimidating for some, though, especially if it feels like the discrimination is happening well up the chain of command.

That’s why the second option is another common route — going to human resources. Human resources personnel are specifically trained to help ensure a fair and balanced work environment. When speaking with a supervisor or human resources, it’s important to document all conversations should you need to escalate the complaint further.

When speaking up for justice in the workplace, an employee may feel retaliation. This could come in the form of threats, disciplinary actions, or even being fired.

If you weren’t hired for a job because of discrimination practices or felt consequences from a job because you spoke up about discrimination, then contact Guardian Litigation Group, LLP right away. Our Irvine discrimination attorneys specialize in these types of cases and will fight for you to have the best possible outcome. With offices nationwide, our experienced team can work with you no matter where you’re located. Contact us today for a free consultation — (949) 569-9006.