Are you being discriminated against on the job or do you just have some disagreeable co-workers? Do you have a boss that is cranky and taciturn, or do you have a boss that mistreats his employees because of protected characteristics? No one likes to work alongside unpleasant co-workers or for a boss who simply doesn't treat workers well. But if the behavior or mistreatment is motivated by the employee's age, sex, race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or pregnancy, it may actually be a form of illegal discrimination.
Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and federal anti-discrimination laws. If you need to know whether the behavior others are subjecting you to in the workplace qualifies as discrimination, consider these signs.
Common Signs that You Are Experiencing Illegal Discrimination at Work:
- Inappropriate Jokes: Are jokes being made based on gender? Do they include derogatory terms or statements about a co-worker's or your race, nation or origin, sexual status, etc.? If the answer is yes, you may be experiencing illegal discrimination.
- Minimal Diversity: If your employer tends to hire workers from a certain gender or race or sexual orientation, or if they tend to exclude new hires from one or more of these classes, you and others may be experiencing discrimination in the workplace.
- Gender Limitations by Role: If employees filling certain roles in the workplace are limited to one gender, it is could be a warning sign of illegal discrimination. For instance, if all secretaries in the workplace are female or all partners at a firm are men, it could be that employees and/or applicants are being denied employment opportunities based on their gender.
- Passed Over for Promotions: If certain workers in protected classes are frequently passed over for promotion even though they may be more qualified than the employee chosen for the promotion, the company may be assigning promotions on a discriminatory basis that may be illegal. This can cost qualified individuals who are denied promotions significant lost wages as well as overall loss of career advancement.
- Unwarranted Negative Reviews: If certain employees receive poor reviews of their work performance even when they are doing a good job in their position at the company, the company may be supporting a discriminatory work environment that could be illegal. This is particularly true if the worker receiving the bad review is in a protected class and co-workers who are not performing as well in similar job duties continue to receive positive work reviews.