In the 2022 fiscal year alone, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 73,485 employment discrimination charges. This is a significant number of people suffering due to discrimination in the workplace and doesn't include the many more who may be experiencing it but haven't spoken up yet. Employment discrimination is more common than many people realize and can occur in more ways than some might think.
If you believe you're experiencing employment discrimination, you might be hesitant to come to terms with what's happening or not feel ready to report it. At Barrett & Farahany, we know there are many signs of employment discrimination and that these are not always overt displays of discriminatory behavior. Our attorneys can help you understand some of the various signs of employment discrimination and what you can do to get help.
What is Legally Considered Employment Discrimination?
Employment discrimination occurs when an employee is treated less favorably than others because of their membership in a protected class. This can include an employee's age, race, gender, disability, religion, and more. Discrimination is illegal in all aspects of employment. Supervisors, coworkers, and third parties, such as clients and customers, may contribute to employment discrimination. However, employment discrimination can also occur due to discriminatory workplace policies that negatively impact employees belonging to a certain protected class.
Common Signs of Employment Discrimination
Not everyone who faces discrimination in the workplace will have the same experience. Additionally, some forms of employment discrimination may feel so commonplace that, while it may be unpleasant, you might not think there's anything you can do about it.
Here are common signs of employment discrimination that you may experience in your workplace.
- Lack of Diversity - In a discriminatory workplace, it's likely that many people of certain protected classes won't want to work there for very long if they're being treated unfairly. Some employers may begin discriminating during the hiring process, which can keep applicants from certain protected classes from ever even joining the company.
- Unfair Promotions - Many people expect to be promoted after working hard for their employer. However, if you notice that people less qualified than you are being promoted, you may wonder if there's something else involved. For example, younger employees are always promoted instead of more qualified older employees, or only male employees receive promotions.
- Unequal Pay - Learning that a coworker who does similar work earns a significant amount more than you can be shocking. You have the right to discuss your salary, and if you discover a discrepancy that could be due to discrimination, it needs to be addressed.
- Inappropriate Jokes and Comments - Discriminatory jokes and comments are some of the most obvious ways that employment discrimination can occur. However, many may try to pass it off as just a joke or accuse you of being overly sensitive, which can make it difficult to decide to report the behavior.
- Being Excluded - If employees who all belong to a protected class are consistently being excluded from others, this could be a sign that discrimination is at play. This can cause employees to feel unwelcome or isolated and prevent them from having the information necessary for their jobs.
- Fixed Roles - In some cases, employees who are being discriminated against may be relegated to lower-level roles with lower pay and less opportunity for advancement.
- Unfair Discipline - We all expect to receive some form of discipline when we've made mistakes at work. However, sometimes discipline is uncalled for, whether the employee didn't actually make a mistake that required discipline or the disciplinary action they received was excessive. This can be used to mistreat employees belonging to a protected class.
Of course, one of these examples occurring does not always mean discrimination was the cause. However, these can be signs of potential employment discrimination, so they should not be overlooked if you suspect you're being treated unfairly for your membership in a protected class. An employment discrimination attorney can assess your situation and determine if you need to take legal action.
Get Help from Our Employment Discrimination Attorneys
No one should have to worry about being discriminated against, especially in the workplace. At Barrett & Farahany, we know that it does occur and at alarmingly high rates. If this is happening to you, something needs to be done. You don't have to go through this alone. Our employment discrimination attorneys are committed to helping employees in Alabama and Georgia fight for the fair treatment they deserve. Contact our employment discrimination attorneys today to learn more about your legal options.