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When should I suspect I’m being discriminated against at work?

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2020 | Employment Law

Like many people, you may love your job, yet feel uncomfortable in your work environment. Your colleagues, supervisor or employer may act in a manner that makes you – or others – feel devalued. Yet, you may not be sure that these behaviors meet the threshold of discrimination. By knowing the telltale signs of it, you can take steps to protect yourself from further incidents.

Your pay is lower than your colleagues’

Many people consider their wage or salary a private matter, though some of your colleagues may share theirs freely with you. Based on their disclosure, you may discover that your pay is lower than theirs. Yet, if you have the same job as your colleagues, there may be no disparities between your skills and responsibilities. Your employer, then, may be discriminating against you by paying you a lower wage or salary than them.

Your work environment feels hostile

When you interact with your colleagues and supervisor, they may treat you in a hostile manner. They may make jokes about your identity if you belong to a protected class. Or, based on it, they may berate you when you work together. If these behaviors are pervasive and prevent you from doing your job, they likely meet the threshold of discrimination.

Your employer passes you over for promotion

You may have ambitions to climb the ranks at your employer. Yet, when working toward a promotion, you may find yourself passed over for other candidates despite your qualifications. This may not be a sign of discrimination if it occurs once. But it could be a cause for concern if it occurs multiple times. If this happens, you will want to observe who your employer moves into the roles you seek. You may notice that only one type of person occupies them, or that no one who resembles you does. In these cases, your employer’s practices may qualify as discrimination.

If you are experiencing any form of discrimination at work, you must document evidence of it and report it to the appropriate person. Keep in mind, though, that your employer may fail to investigate your report or retaliate against you for making it. In these cases, you will want to file a complaint or take legal action. An attorney can help you determine what option makes sense in your situation.