Jobs and occupations across all industries can be incredibly fulfilling — until they aren’t anymore. Retaliatory actions and discrimination in the workplace can create a hostile environment that’s uncomfortable and difficult for anyone to deal with alone.
Working with a lawyer to understand your rights as an employee in the event of workplace discrimination ensures that you will have reliable resources and individualized recommendations for the right path forward.
Don’t put up with inappropriate, demeaning, discriminatory language or actions at your job. Get justice for workplace wrongdoings with assistance from a well-seasoned workplace discrimination attorney.
Workplace Discrimination Defined
There are several instances of discrimination against individuals of all backgrounds that federal laws protect against within the workplace. Employment discrimination comes in the form of an array of actions, language, and opportunities (or lack thereof) that aim to leave individual employees out based on specific identifying factors.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the definition of workplace discrimination includes any actions or communications that intend to treat someone differently or less favorably for some reason. The EEOC provides comprehensive protections against employment discrimination due to the following identifying factors:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Medical conditions (including pregnancy)
- National origin
- Genetic information
Employees should always have the right to feel safe in their work environment. Workplace discrimination, whether it’s subtle or not, can cause increased mental anguish for minority individuals. If you notice any of the signs of workplace discrimination, you may be able to seek damages for depression, anxiety, and PTSD against your employer with assistance from a mental injury attorney.
Protect yourself from the long-term mental and financial impacts of these inexcusable behaviors in business settings and recognize the telltale signs of all too common workplace discrimination.
6 Common Signs of Discrimination in the Workplace
Although many workplace discrimination occurrences are outright, there are several common signs of this issue that are unfortunately a bit more subtle. Employees that fall under the protected identities should keep an eye out for these less obvious indicators of employment discrimination and retaliation:
1. Jokes About Gender
It’s great to see more and more women bursting through the glass ceiling of business and providing valuable work within every industry. Women and women-identifying people in positions ranging from influential C-suite executives all the way down to minimum wage workers might experience workplace discrimination in some form throughout their careers.
Many leading companies worldwide are working to combat gender biases in their business practices, but sometimes signs of gender discrimination are a bit more difficult to spot. When a coworker makes an inappropriate joke or snide comment concerning your gender — even if it’s said in the most innocent tone — that’s an example of gender discrimination in the workplace.
It’s important to note that not only women experience discrimination regarding their gender in the workplace. Men and gender non-conforming individuals can also bear the brunt of this big issue, especially in women-dominated industries. Reporting targeted, gender-specific jokes and even seemingly insignificant infractions is the best way to cover your back before this type of behavior gets out of hand.
2. Lacking Diversity Levels
Another step that many industries are taking in the right direction is to improve diversity amongst employees and within leadership roles. It’s encouraging to see more women, people of color, disabled folks, and members of the LGBTQ community taking on top positions in the workplace, but this isn’t always the case in every company.
When considering a position within a new business, low diversity levels can be indicative of a much bigger problem. At companies where minority employees aren’t given the opportunity to rise through the ranks, you’ll find the most significant risk for covert or overt employment discrimination.
3. Unequal Pay and Promotional Put-Downs
The fight for equal pay between men and women has been ongoing for decades, and it doesn’t seem to be something that all businesses are taking in stride. There are still many companies that aim to keep women and other minorities from holding higher positions. Some retaliatory and discriminatory actions an employer can take in this category include:
- Passing up qualified individuals for open positions
- Stagnated salary or pay decreases
- Denied promotions or outright demotions
- Fixed positions
- Moving to part-time hours
These types of workplace discrimination tactics can make it challenging to grow and achieve success in any occupation. It’s essential to have open and honest discussions with coworkers about salaries, promotions, and positions to gather input on whether you are experiencing workplace discrimination or not. With this valuable information on hand, you can start handling workplace discrimination the right way.
4. Retaliation Regarding Your Medical Record
Let’s face it; whether your boss likes it or not, accidents, illnesses, and other emergencies are bound to happen at some point. Certain disabilities, medical conditions such as pregnancy, and family medical emergencies are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act.
What this coverage can do is protect you from retaliation when you need time away from work to deal with family medical emergencies, flare-ups of pre-existing conditions, pregnancy or prenatal care, temporary handicaps, and other necessary medical treatments. Additionally, employers cannot retaliate against anyone filing a workplace injury claim or seeking financial damages after a workplace injury occurs.
If you feel discriminated against regarding your workplace medical record, contact a trusted workplace discrimination lawyer to develop a plan of action against your place of employment.
5. Forthright Favoritism
One of the most common occurrences of workplace discrimination is outright displays of favoritism between employees. If you notice yourself getting overlooked on projects or roles that you’re more qualified for while the lazy, lower-level worker with less experience soars through the ranks, it’s a likely sign you’re facing a form of workplace discrimination via favoritism.
Don’t let your company’s leaders get away with favoritism in the workplace and perpetuate employment inequities even further. Having a good workplace discrimination attorney at your side to guide you through the litigation process and potential court proceedings will put your mind at ease when fighting favoritism and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.
6. Inappropriate References to Age
Age discrimination is another issue many older folks face in the workplace. When younger leadership teams take the reigns and look to make cuts, they often seek out senior employees nearing retirement age.
Although the average age for retirement in America is 65, you still have the right to work as long as you’re physically capable of contributing to the workplace positively. Your office or employer cannot force you out of a job, even with an enticing retirement package, just because of your age.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects any employee forty years or older from facing discrimination, targeted harassment, or derogatory remarks regarding their age in the workplace. Your workplace discrimination law firm will find the right resources to assist you when instances of age discrimination occur.
What to Do About Workplace Discrimination
We all deserve to feel safe and respected within our workplaces. So, when discrimination happens, you want to be prepared with an effective strategy from a workplace discrimination lawyer. Any affected employees should take action in addressing these issues, no matter how daunting it might seem.
If you feel this is occurring to you or someone you know after reading through the typical indicators of workplace discrimination, don’t wait. Work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to secure both the damages you deserve and daily respect within your occupation. Contact Mottaz & Sisk to take the first steps in developing a strong case against an employer’s indefensible actions of workplace discrimination.