5 Signs You’re Being Discriminated Against at Work

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ExecutiveChronicles | 5 Signs You’re Being Discriminated Against at Work | While discrimination in the workplace can wreak havoc on your career and sense of well-being, you may not even realize it’s happening.

Discrimination can be subtle or obvious, and victims of discrimination can be more dedicated, productive, and skilled than their coworkers. Still, they never seem to get ahead at work.

Because discrimination in the workplace is insidious and can take many forms, employees may suffer for years before finally spotting it. Being aware of some common signs that you’re being discriminated against can help you realize what’s happening before it’s too late.

Contact an employment lawyer if you notice any of the following red flags.

1. Suspicious Interview Questions

Discrimination can occur during any phase of the employment cycle and may manifest as early as the interview process.

Watch out for inappropriate personal questions, assumptions, and comments about your age, sex, race, gender identity and expression, or other protected class. For instance, if you’re a woman undergoing an interview in a predominantly male industry, being asked about your likability might make you wonder if the male applicants would be asked the same question.  

2. Demeaning Communication

If you notice a consistent and unpleasant tone in how your coworkers and superiors communicate with you, you may be in a discriminatory work environment.

If the way you are spoken to is demeaning and people in the office are always making offensive jokes around you – especially when related to protected classes like gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. – you may have a case of discrimination.

Stay vigilant about offensive behavior – discrimination is often disguised as humor. Be on the lookout for an attitude of superiority among your coworkers and listen for tones of disrespect.

3. Unfair Disciplinary Action

Being unfairly criticized or having unfair disciplinary action taken against you can be a form of discrimination – especially when it’s enforced by a superior.

Although it’s possible your superior may be unconscious of the unfair treatment, they could also be making a concerted effort to create a paper trail as evidence to justify your termination. Regardless of whether your superior is acting unconsciously, you should speak up about being treated unfairly.

4. Unequal Pay

While many organizations discourage discussing your salary with coworkers, federal law protects your right to do so. Comparing your salary with your coworkers can help determine whether you are being discriminated against.

Suppose a coworker with similar experience is in the same role as you but is getting paid more for the same amount of work. In that case, you could be experiencing discrimination – especially if your coworker is of a different gender or race. You have a right to expect equality in your workplace.

5. Unjust Promotions

By looking at your organization’s structure, you should immediately be able to tell if this type of discrimination is taking place. For instance, if all the managerial positions in the company are held by men and women are relegated to administrative roles, your organization probably follows discriminatory practices.

This type of discrimination can also be experienced more directly. For instance, if you are passed over for promotions even when you have proven that you have the interest and skills to move to a higher position, but less qualified coworkers get promoted, your superiors may be discriminating against you.