Workplace discrimination is always a serious matter, but many victims suffer from its effects without even realizing it’s happening. Even employees who are more skilled, dedicated, and productive than their colleagues can end up paying a heavy but unrecognized price because of discrimination.
Since it does not always take the overt, obvious forms many people expect, workplace discrimination can even continue for years without the target becoming aware of it. Being familiar with the most common signs of subtle but significant workplace discrimination could help you avoid this common problem.
Employment-Related Discrimination is Not Always as Blatant as Might be Expected
Even in states with at-will employment laws and other employer-friendly arrangements, workers have guaranteed rights. As those who get more information here will see, employees never need to tolerate sexual harassment, retaliation for lawful whistleblowing, or violations of laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity program also defines a number of protected classes employers are not allowed to use as the basis for decisions. Under the law, businesses may not use the race, gender, religion, age, or disabled status of workers to justify actions that negatively impact them.
More than a million workers have filed complaints alleging illegal discrimination by employers over the course of the last decade. While many of these cases have led to findings of actual, prohibited workplace discrimination, the problem persists.
One of the reasons for this is simply that workplace discrimination does not always manifest in ways that make it easy for its targets to recognize. Four of the most common signs you have become subject to relatively subtle but illegal discrimination are:
· You are denied promotions. Biased managers and executives sometimes fail to consider certain employees for promotion because of traits like race or gender. It can be difficult to prove that discrimination was the reason for a lack of advancement, but a bit of digging will sometimes reveal clear, undeniable evidence. For that to happen, someone who has been discriminated against will normally need to put two and two together to set things in motion.
· Your pay lags behind your colleagues’. Many employers discourage or outright forbid employees from talking about their salaries. In fact, though, the 1935 National Labor Relations Act protects the right of workers to share the details of their compensation with others. Because few actually do so, discrimination-related pay discrepancies can persist for many years without being recognized or addressed.
· Your workplace lacks diversity. There are industries where certain demographic realities among workforce members are taken for granted despite earnest attempts to address them. That can leave people of a particular race, religion, or gender overlooking discrimination that should properly be called out. A workplace that is notably lacking in diversity can be a sign the employer is discriminating.
· You are disciplined where others are not. Managers sometimes use undue discipline as a way to disguise illegal discrimination against targeted workers. Unreasonable, seemingly capricious disciplinary measures could be a sign there is a problem.
A Bit of Awareness Can Pay Off
Especially blatant, undisguised forms of workplace discrimination tend to be recognized and addressed. Many types of illegal discrimination, though, are subtler and less likely to attract immediate attention.
Workers who are attuned to issues like the four detailed above will be better equipped to notice discrimination even when it is not entirely overt. Given that this is always the first step toward addressing the problem, being appropriately prepared can easily make a real difference.
You may also like: Employing Someone With A Disability: What You Should Know